The Great Deception by J. Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/01/28 at 9:11 AM

The Law of Degradation states that things will continue to degrade further unless effort is made to stem the downward movement.  Humans begin physically degrading from conception.  Illness, left untreated, becomes worse. Garbage does not improve its aroma with time.  A mind not used well does not become more intelligent. Unused muscles atrophy.

This principle applies in the moral order as well.  One of the basic words in Catholic vocabulary is “sin.”  Sin has been and still is the major cause of personal and societal ills.  At the root of every social problem is a moral problem or habits of sin.    Sin and redemption are basic tenets of Catholicism.

Illicit drug use is a moral problem (instant gratification). Having illegitimate children is a moral problem (impurity).  Unwarranted price inflation is a moral problem (greed).  Political corruption is a moral problem (hypocrisy).  And so it goes.  We try to solve them with non-moral means, and, of course, it never works.  The worst of it is that Catholic pulpits are mainly silent on the subject of sin.  I cannot recall the last time I heard a sermon on the topic, and yet polls show that Catholics are as immersed in the sins of the culture as non-Catholics.

Sin is real whether we like it or not or believe it or not.  If we look at what used to be Christendom, we see immediately that sin is alive and well.  Too many people exist in lives of chronic sinfulness, some because of ignorance, some because of indifference, and others because of malice in the soul.  Habits of serious sin (mortal sin) have consequences because sin is a rejection of divine law.  It is a rebellion against God (which is a rather daring undertaking).  Sin always exacts a price.  Somewhere, somehow, sometime the sinner must pay the penalty for his accumulated sins.

What are some of the effects of constant, unrepented serious sin?

  1. Life becomes disordered, i.e. out of order.  God has set up an order by which each person can live and fulfill  his or her potential.  It does not involve sin.  Obedience to divine law assures us that we are in harmony with this divine plan.  Disobedience renders our life irrational, in that we, by habitual sin, thwart the divine plan and make ourselves incapable of attaining God’s best blessings.  A habitual sinner is like a person who refuses to obey the rules of math, and always ends up with a wrong answer.  Moreover, no human has the standing, legally or morally, to decide that divine law is optional for him, and that it can be ignored with impunity.  Thus the habitual sinner exists in a state of disequilibrium concerning God no matter how “successful” he may appear to be in the world.
  2. The constant sinner has rejected the concept that the creature owes a debt of commitment to the Creator.  Sinners are committed to things of this world first … money, power, popularity, illicit sex in inordinate amounts.  The greedy person never has enough of what he craves.  Power often leads to other forms of corruption, etc.  The Creator is forgotten or ignored in the pursuit of ephemeral delights.  He begins to look for ways to rationalize his way of life and to associate with like-minded people.  The problem is that natural debt to God does not vanish because someone finds it inconvenient.  The one who never attends Sunday Mass has rejected the debt he owes to God, but God  does not free him from the debt.  The final cry of the unrepentant sinner, “The past has deceived me; the present torments me, and the future terrifies me”.
  3. Habitual serious sin is grossly deceptive.  Our Lord called Satan the father of lies.  As soon as the human race appeared on earth, Satan set out on a “con job” and was very successful in the Garden of Eden.  He told Eve that God was the deceiver in telling her and Adam not to eat of a particular tree.  Satan said that if they did eat it, they would become just like God and He didn’t want that.  “So go ahead! Take a bite.”  They did.  Not only did they not become divine; they lost all the gifts and blessings they already had.  And Satan slithered off to look for Cain.

Habits of sin affect the mind proportionate to the sins involved.  We change our values.  We begin to think that evil is really “not that bad.” (In fact, there are attitudes around that say a certain amount of activity that used to be called sin is actually beneficial to you such as “free love”.) Changed values led to the deaths of 55 million aborted babies.  We see the odd sight of “Catholic” politicians endorsing and voting for sin at every opportunity.  Ultimately, sin destroys the society in which it becomes an accepted part of life.  Every one of the past civilizations that existed died from suicide caused by moral failure.  We are on the same road now. The regime in DC flaunts its disregard of traditional morality, especially in matters of life itself.  Just this week, the current administration issued an ultimatum to the American Catholic Church demonstrating that those in power could not care less about its doctrines or its conscience; Catholic institutions must toe their immoral line or else.

G.K. Chesterton said that unless man becomes an enemy of evil, he will not only become its slave, he will end up championing it.  How many “Catholics” vote at odds with their Faith? Far too many!  The divine moral law (the Ten Commandments) will never change even if every human votes to rescind it. It just doesn’t work that way. The Law of Degradation applies to sinners.  Those who begin their anti-God rebellion may begin with one type of sin, but it is not long before other types become habitual as well.  Just as one initial disease can cause others to appear, habitual sin has a way of expanding because the sinner can only rely on the grace of repentance.

It is no longer “cool” to believe in sin, judgment, Heaven, Hell, good and evil, truth and error. But these ideas matter and have objective existence even if we snicker and sneer at them. The most important moment of your life is the last one. If you have lived striving to be obedient to divine law, you can smile.  If you have lived according to your own laws …


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