sin

Yesterday, we defined prayer as the lifting up of the mind and heart to God. And we said that the purpose of prayer is to be one with Christ. What then, can we say about sin? Sin is diametrically opposed to union with Christ. The Baltimore Catechism says this about sin:
          “Sin is an offense against reason, truth, right conscience and God; it is a failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods.”

Instead of having a genuine love for God above everythng else, we seek out those things that will give us fleeting pleasures, temporal goods, emotional gratifications. How sad that the One we should seek, with whom, we should strive to be united, we discard for this thrill, or that gratification, for financial rewards, or popularity.

What is the fascination of sin? Why do we so easily succumb to the very things that destroy our soul? The reason is simple enough. We do not perceive sin for what it is, namely, the separation of ourselves from  our God. No, we only see that which is offered. We see the momentary reward and are blinded by its seeming allure. We do not see the sin. Rather, we see the new friend to be added to our collection. We see momentary gratifications, as though they will last forever. And when they cease to gratify, we seek them all the more strongly. We see the ambition to move ahead in the company, the fame that it will bring and the money that it means. The allure is so strong, we think nothing of lying, or slandering, or anything else that is necessary to get ahead. Material things are sought as so many badges of honor. The more we have, the more impressed people will be, the more we are impressed with ourselves.

Maybe we aren’t seeking material things. Maybe we are seeking the ease of comfortable living. Let others do the work. Someone else will pick up after me. Leave me alone, let me watch my tv show. Let me do nothing. Why should I help that person? I don’t really know him/her. I can’t stand her, she’s so catty. Here comes Bill, what a boring guy. The list of worldly fascinations and attractions is endless.

Whatever weakness exists in our makeup, something in this world will exist to make it feel better. Whether we feel insecure, or persecuted, or lonely, or financially stressed, whatever our need the world will provide an immediate “solution”.  This solution, unrecognized by us, gradually takes over the weakness, and it becomes our new weakness. We then seek this out above everything else. It becomes our new need, because it seems better than what we had before. An example may be in order. A person feels insecure. So much so, that he doesn’t want to mingle with people. He stays home, by himself, and constantly watches tv. His mind is always occupied with tv shows, movies, serials and anything else that comes on. His insecurity, the original weakness, doesn’t come to the surface much, anymore. He has tv to turn to. He now must watch tv. It has become his new need.

Wordly attractions wrap around us. They cater to our weaknessess, our needs. They tie us up, and slowly they squeeze the desire to unite with Christ, out of us. We don’t see these things as evil, as sin. They have become our necessities. We can’t imagine life without them. They have become for us, our god.

The only way we can break this downward spiral, is to strive to unite ourselves with Christ. Prayer, not the recitation of words, but the linking of our mind and heart with Christ, is the only way to overcome sin. This is a lot to expect of ourselves, because we have slowly closed Christ out of our life. And, by ourselves, we will not be able to overcome the things we have gotten attached to. But with all the trust, all the faith, all the confidence we can muster, we must tell Christ our dilemna. He knows it already, but we must voice it, so we can hear it. Strive to link with Christ and feel His presence, hear His gentle whisper. Go back to church. Talk to Him in the confessional. The allures of the world will rise up and tell you how dumb you are, how stupidly you are acting. The Enemy will not give up easily. But once you realize how important it is to unite with Christ, you will know that He is there with you, listening to your plea. Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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