Posts Tagged ‘Sin’

Forgotten, But Not Gone

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2015/10/16 at 12:00 AM

Modern man has avidly accepted the false philosophy that there is no objective truth in the non-physical fields.(Object truth means something is true regardless of our belief about it.)  But it is this non-physical world that distinguishes us from the animals; they live in a physical world and are guided by instinct. The mental world is reserved for man and refers to the areas of religion, politics, fine arts, music, law, among others, and, of course, thinking. With modern man there are no true or false ideas, no good or bad morals, no right or wrong pursuits. Everything is true or false according to his own perception, and no one can legitimately say he is wrong.

One of the negative consequences of this philosophy is the denial of personal sin. When is the last time you heard a sermon on sin? Frankly, I can’t remember one. After all, current thought says we are not really responsible for our “bad” actions because we are “victims” of environment, economics, race, neighborhoods, etc.

Although many people may reject or “pooh-pooh” the idea of serious sin, it is, nevertheless, alive and well, encompassing the entire world. The world is in the mess it is in because of sin. Situations get worse because of the refusal to acknowledge that faulty morality may play a significant role in the world’s seemingly insoluble problems. But to even acknowledge sin is to face the task of repentance. Many serious sins have mass appeal, so changing to a better moral code simply is not an option for many people. A problem not admitted or rationalized is a problem that will remain unsolved. Look around you!

There are consequences to this denial of sin because sin is real and its consequences are real – they exist. Look around you! Sin is really an irrational act. Habitual sin clouds the mind and prevents sensible thoughts about the situation one is in.

Serious sin always demands more. When one sin is not enough to satisfy, eventually 100 will not be enough to satisfy, and the sinner is trapped. He becomes a slave to his sin because it has become part of his mental operation. He loses sight of any of the worthwhile aspects of life because he is driven by the compulsion to sin.

Eventually he may become so hard-hearted that he becomes like a frenzied demon in his pursuit of evil. This could happen to anyone – and probably did to individuals like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, serial killers, etc. A habitual sinner is follower of Satan. You may say, “I don’t believe in that nonsense.”  Well, Satan believes in you, and he is readying you for his kingdom.

Habitual sin separates us from God who is the ultimate goal of human life. One who dies in the state of habitual serious sin cannot except to share eternity with anyone but those like him. There are no former habitual sinners in Heaven. Sin is a violation of divine law, and lawbreakers are not in favor with God. But, the sinner says, “God is so good that He would never consign a sinner to eternal Hell.” God does not consign anyone to Hell or Heaven; we consign ourselves. When we die, the time for repentance is over. Even the inexhaustible divine mercy is unavailable then because in eternity, there can be no change. Besides, when the sinner dies, he will instantly grasp what a fool he has been, but it will be too late.

Modern man has been seduced by the idea of instant gratification; he does not want to wait for anything. “I want it now” is his watchword. However, this is the way of a young child, and it is a sign of immaturity in adults or teens. Habitual sin is instant gratification run amok. Such a person cannot be serious about the serious issues of life because few of them are instantly gratified.

In the story of Adam and Eve, the focus is usually on the actual sin. If we look at the story more closely, we can see that there was a prior mistake: they fell for the idea that sin would make them equal to God. Every habitual sinner has fooled himself into thinking that he, like God, has the right to conduct himself according to his own wishes and desires. That never works, though, because God is God. And, we are not.

The concept of sin may  have been forgotten, but it is by no means gone. It may be forgotten in the sinner’s mind, but it is still as real as it ever was. What you believe about it, one way or the other, does not change the reality of its existence. If you think all this is nonsense, look around you, and tell me how well things are going.






Taking Chances

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2014/10/03 at 12:00 AM

Catholic theology teaches that God consists of three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  All are co-eternal, all equal, and all distinct.  Because, in His very nature, God is perfect, the interrelationship between the Persons is also perfect, meaning that the Trinity lacks nothing and needs nothing else to enhance it in any way.

Yet, God did create the world and the human race simply because He wanted to; there was no need to do so whatsoever.  He wanted to give humans the opportunity to participate to some degree in the divine life, not become divine, which is impossible for humans, but to enjoy a union with God that will never end.

In one sense, this was a pure gift.  God needs no human person or any number of them to make Him more complete.  (If He did need humans, He would be lacking something. And, that means He would not be perfect.)  The world could vanish tomorrow, and He would be none the worse for it.

This union with God is a potential gift, not an absolute gift.  There is a price of admission.  Humans are creatures of God and must honor and obey their Creator in order to attain this eternal union.  Those who do this satisfactorily are what is often referred to as “saved,” or as saints.  Those who fail to follow God’s commands will be eternally deprived of ever sharing divine life.  That is their own choice.

Mankind is morally weak.  He likes what we call “sin.”  (Modern man has deleted the traditional list of sins (i.e. the Ten Commandments), so that for him, the only real sins are racism, sexism, environmental abuse, and being intolerant of  wrong ideas.  Virtue is not easy to attain, and we are constantly “falling off the wagon.”  To reach the eternal reward is a lifetime chore.  God knows that we are weak and too often fall back in sin.  We don’t want to, but we do.  Any sin is an offense against God who is all-holy, but some sins are worse than others, for example, murder (including abortion), adultery,  skipping Sunday Mass for insufficient or no reason, blasphemy, etc.  The only remedy for serious (i.e. mortal) sin for Catholics is to seek divine mercy through Confession/Reconciliation in the Catholic Church.  This mercy is available to every sinner regardless of the number and magnitude of his/her sins.

Divine mercy is not an abstract idea; it is very real. If you have ever committed a mortal sin and confessed it, you experienced divine mercy.  If you lived in a state of on-going serious sin for a long time, but eventually went to Confession, you, too, have experienced divine mercy.  If you have lived in a state of serious sin for a long time, and you are still alive, you are experiencing divine mercy…but for how long?   The millions of lapsed Catholics are experiencing divine mercy…but for how long?

Divine mercy has its limits.  Divine mercy to any serious sinner is a gift.  It is not required of God.  This mercy must be sought by the sinner; it is not automatic. If you insist on living a sinful lifestyle, God will not interfere; it is your choice.  If you ignore divine mercy, you will not receive it. Perhaps worst of all, divine mercy is not available after death.  Then, there will only by judgment.  There is no faith or repentance after death; no faith because you will know with certainty what you once had to accept by faith; there is no repentance because you are now existing in eternity which has no past, present, or future.  Thus, you cannot see your error and claim sorrow for sin….too late.  The die is cast!  The sinner and saint have made their eternal choices, and God ratifies THEM.  He sends no one to Hell; we send ourselves there.  The  time to seek divine mercy is now.

There is a movement developing in Catholic and Protestant circles that suggests Hell may not be eternal, that God is so good that He could not bear to leave people in Hell, and eventually everyone will get to Heaven.  By this thinking, St. Francis of Assisi and Adolph Hitler would both be in Heaven eventually.  Certainly a comforting thought for the sinner, but totally false.  Why would God demand morality in this life if it didn’t really matter if you obeyed Him or not?  Why should people strive for a virtuous life while history’s egregious villains end up in divine favor?  Besides, Christ Himself referred more to Hell than Heaven in the Gospels because He knew it was really possible to go there. And, He never implied it was a temporary place.

I have heard too many sermons in which God’s “love” is extolled beyond reason.  It is usually put forth as a romantic, sentimental, unconditional, and totally undemanding “love.”  No matter how sinful we are, the most we hear from God is, “Tsk, tsk.” But, true love, in any relationship, is a commitment to another person.  Basically, love is an act of the will.  If the Bible says anything about divine love, it says over and over that love toward God is shown only by our obedience to divine law. (“If you love me, keep  my commandments.”)

I met a man who said that he was not at all worried about sin, damnation, and Hell because he didn’t believe in them.  When I was child, I was a firm and sincere devotee of Santa Claus, but my belief did not change reality; there was no Santa Cause.  This man’s beliefs, or lack of them, will not change reality. Sin, damnation and Hell are realities, and their existence is not dependent upon his or anyone’s belief or lack of belief.  Reality is truth, and it exists outside of us; we do not decide what it is.

Divine mercy is real, and if you need it (we all do), it is available for the asking.  After we die, there will be a realization in the sinner’s mind that s/he lived the wrong life, but it will be too late to do anything about.  Lord, have mercy on us NOW.

Just like an nurse, God heals our wounds with His hands

In Uncategorized on 2014/09/12 at 12:00 AM

Pope Francis spoke about the mystery of God during his homily at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta. He said that God challenges Christians by “meddling” in their lives. He added that it’s something that can only be understood by contemplation in prayer.


“The image that comes to my mind is that of a nurse in a hospital who heals our wounds, one at a time. Just like God, who gets involved and meddles in our miseries, He gets close to our wounds and heals them with His hands. And to actually have hands, He became man.” 
Pope Francis also recalled that God did not save humanity by decree, but rather with his own life.
Source: Vatican Radio 
“One man created sin, Francis explained, and one man saved us. God is close, he is close to our history. From the very first moment when he chose our father, Abraham, he walked with His people. And Jesus himself had a craftsman’s job: a worker who uses his hands. The image that comes to mind is that of a nurse in a hospital who heals our wounds, one at a time. Just like God who gets involved, who meddles in our miseries, He gets close to our wounds and heals them with his hands. And to actually have hands, He became man. So God saves us not only by decree: He saves us with tenderness and with caresses. He saves us with His life for us.” 
“Where sins abound, grace abounds. Each of us knows his miseries and knows how they abound. But God’s challenge is to defeat them and heal the wounds as Jesus did with His superabundance of grace and love. Those who are closest to the heart of Jesus are sinners, because He goes to look for them, calls them and heals them, while those who are in good health do not need a doctor: ‘I have come to heal, to save.’” 
“But how can we be wary of a God who is so close, so good, who prefers the sinful heart? This mystery is not easy to understand with intelligence, but with the help of these three words: ‘contemplation, proximity and abundance,’ because God always wins with the superabundance of his grace, with His tenderness, with His wealth of mercy.” 

“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/04/25 at 12:00 AM
The heart has been created to love, do not doubt it. Let us therefore bring Our Lord Jesus Christ into the love that we feel. Otherwise, the empty heart takes revenge and fills itself up with the most despicable vileness. (Furrow, 800)

How are we to approach Jesus, what are we to say, how should we behave?

Christian life is not made up of rigid norms, because the Holy Spirit does not guide souls collectively, but inspires each one with resolutions, inspirations and affections that will help it to recognize and fulfil the will of the Father. Still, I feel that, on many occasions, the central theme of our conversation with Christ, in our thanksgiving after holy Mass, can be the consideration that our Lord is our king, physician, teacher and friend.

He is our physician, and he heals our selfishness, if we let his grace penetrate to the depths of our soul. Jesus has taught us that the worst sickness is hypocrisy, the pride that leads us to hide our own sins. We have to be totally sincere with him. We have to tell the whole truth, and then we have to say: “Lord, if you will” — and you are always willing — ”you can make me clean.” You know my weaknesses; I feel these symptoms; I suffer from these failings. We show him the wound, with simplicity, and if the wound is festering, we show the pus too. Lord, you have cured so many souls; help me to recognize you as the divine physician, when I have you in my heart or when I contemplate your presence in the tabernacle. (Christ is passing by, 92-93)

Sacrament of Confession is not a ‘torture chamber’

In Uncategorized on 2014/03/13 at 12:00 AM

“Confessing our sins is not going to a psychiatrist, or to a torture chamber: it’s saying to the Lord, ‘Lord, I am a sinner,’ but saying it through the brother, because this says it concretely. ‘I am sinner because of this, that and the other thing.’”Pope Francis opened his homily by reflecting that for many believing adults, the idea of confessing one’s sins to a priest is either so unbearable that they completely avoid the Sacrament, or the process is so painful that the truth is transformed into a form of fiction.

Recalling St. Paul’s words in his letter to the Roman’s from the day’s readings, the Pope noted that the apostle did the opposite, confessing publicly that “good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh,” and that he doesn’t do the good that he wants, but only the evil which he hates.

The Pope stressed that it often happens in the life of faith that “when I want to do good, evil is close to me.”

“This is the struggle of Christians. It is our struggle every day. And we do not always have the courage to speak as Paul spoke about this struggle.”

Often, noted the pontiff, we seek to justify our sins by making excuses and saying that “we are all sinners,” and that this fight “is our struggle.”

“If we don’t recognize this, we will never be able to have God’s forgiveness,” urged the Pope, “because if being a sinner is a word, a way of speaking, a manner of speaking, we have no need of God’s forgiveness. But if it is a reality that makes us slaves, we need this interior liberation of the Lord, of that force.”

Pope Francis then emphasized that the most important element for Saint Paul in finding a way out of this justification was to confess his sin to the community, noting that “he doesn’t hide it,” and that the confession of one’s sins with humility is something which the Church requires of us all.

“Confess your sins to one another,” he said, repeating the words of Saint James, not to be noticed by others, but rather “to give glory to God” and to recognize that it is only him who can save.

This is why, stressed the Pope, we go to a “brother priest,” to confess, urging that when one confesses, it must be done with “concreteness.”

“Some say: ‘Ah, I confess to God.’ But it’s easy, it’s like confessing by email, no? God is far away, I say things and there’s no face-to-face, no eye-to-eye contact,” while “others (say)‘No, I go to confession,’ but they confess so many ethereal things, so many up-in-the-air things, that they don’t have anything concrete. And that’s the same as not doing it.”

Concreteness, honesty, and the genuine ability to be ashamed one’s mistakes are all qualities needed in order to be open to the forgiveness of God, as well as the deep awareness of his love, the Pope noted.

Concluding his reflections, Pope Francis stressed that in the face of confession, we should have the attitude of a small child, because “when a child comes to confess, he never says something general.”

“‘But father, I did this and I did that to my aunt, another time I said this word’ and they say the word. But they are concrete, eh? They have that simplicity of the truth.”

Although “we always have the tendency to hide the reality of our failings,” the Pope noted that “there is something beautiful: when we confess our sins as they are in the presence of God, we always feel that grace of shame.”

“Being ashamed in the sight of God is a grace. It is a grace: ‘I am ashamed of myself.’”

When we think of this kind of shame, the Pope stressed, “We think of Peter when, after the miracle of Jesus on the lake, (he said) ‘Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinner.’”

National Catholic News Agency

Credit: Marianne Medlin/CNA.

The Wanderers

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2014/03/07 at 12:00 AM

In the long history of the human race, never have humans been as conflicted as they are today.  Technology has made the whole world accessible to almost anyone.  Yet, in spite of this new familiarity, there is hardly a section of the world not in some kind of turmoil from wars, terrorism, civil unrest, etc.  There is a widespread attitude of “What’s next?”.  Modern man is miserable and frustrated.  He does not know where he came from, why he is here, and where he is going.  In a word, he is alienated from himself, from people (often even his own family), his work, his civic responsibilities, his past, and his future.

The root cause of his problem is that he is first alienated from God, without whom life is meaningless.  Because he has rejected God, man has lost the standard of rational thinking and his ability to deal sensibly with his world and the world of others.  Without God, there can be no rational or moral standards beyond those made by the “movers and shakers” of society.  We know how well that has worked over the last 60 or so years.  What are the causes of this human upheaval?  How did modern man lose sight of what is so vitally necessary to his well-being?

The first cause is SIN . . . sin in the traditional sense of the Ten Commandments, not the politically-correct sins of racism, sexism, and homophobia to the exclusion of the Commandments.  Habits of serious sin break any connection we might have with God because He is a holy God, and He and sin are incompatible.  Sin alienates the sinner from God.  Those who never or rarely attend worship services, those having affairs, those promoting abortion,  the promiscuous, by their actions, have objectively separated themselves from God.  We saw the effects of sin in the story of Adam and Eve.  We cannot serve two masters, God and Devil.  We must choose by our lifestyle.

Some people sense instinctively that they are living immoral lives, and to make themselves feel better, they grasp at false teachings of the incompetent in order to be able to keep their pet sins.  For example, the false doctrine that there is no hell or if there is, it is not eternal.  Very comforting to the sinner and very false.  Then there is the common idea that all religions are pretty much the same, and all the sinner needs to do is find a religion that approves of his immoral life.  If one wishes to live the gay lifestyle, it is easy to find a church that will accommodate that wish, forgetting or ignoring the fact that no Church or no human being has any authority to veto a divine command.  (A human may announce a veto, but God does not ratify it.)

The ultimate purpose of human life, believe it or like it or not, is to be reunited with our Creator after death.  Our souls come from God, and we are meant to return to Him.  Habitual serious sin makes that impossible and makes life an ultimate failure.

Another cause of alienation is the CULTURE we live in.  In the story of Noah, we are told that God destroyed most of the human race because they were so immoral.  What does that say about us?  Those people did not have anywhere near the means to sin we have and which some use without a second thought.  The result has been chaos because sin, by its very nature, is irrational and unnatural.  To indulge in it habitually is to act abnormally.  “Right is right even if no one is right, and wrong is wrong even if everyone is wrong.”

The contemporary culture of the Western world is Godless and immoral.  The culture advocates sin; it applauds it; it invents new sins of which earlier people could not have conceived.  The chief movers of society show a disdain for God in the sense that they do not consider religion to be of great importance beyond a person’s private “hobby.”  The film and TV industries are always extending the range of vulgarity, and the internet generates a multi-billion dollar porn output.  The print media is seen as so biased that they have become a joke.  Fair reporting died long ago.  Democrats can do no wrong; Republicans can do no right.

Education at all levels is atheistic in practice.  Schools do not teach about moral right and wrong.  (One could wonder if there is a connection between that and the increasing disciplinary problem at all levels.)  The ACLU lies lurking somewhere to catch some child doing something religious.  (Their venom is aimed mainly and mostly at the Christian religion.)  We don’t want religion in school because someone . . . whoever that is . . . “might be offended.”  The irrational rationale is usually the so-called separation of Church and State, an idea found in neither the Declaration of Independence nor in the Constitution.  Our culture is awash in sin.  There is no charismatic voice to object to any of this.  Those few who do express opposition are vilified because those on the wrong side cannot justify their positions with any convincing arguments; it is easier and more effective to call your opponent names. Global warming, like evolution, has been declared a proven fact (neither one has actually), but to go counter to these prevailing orthodoxies is to risk at least ridicule, but never a counter-argument.

The reason is the culture does not believe in objective truth.  Truth is what the individual says it is, and that’s final.  Applied to morals, the result is moral chaos and cannot be other than that.  Humans devise laws because too many people cannot be relied on to use common sense.

It is not easy to resist a culture because it impinges on so many aspects of life.  It makes demands; it makes judgments; it censors.  But cultures come and go.  God is still God; Truth is still Truth; error is still error.  We will be judged by our attitude to Divine Truth, not cultural truth.  Modern man has allied himself with the culture, a totally selfish and false ally.

Modern man is a wanderer.  He has no guide, no map, no compass.  He has decided that he can walk through life using his own skills.  The result is a life of doubt, fear, uncertainty and apprehension about the future.  He wanders in his alienation.  He has no idea where he is going or where he should be going.  Unless he realizes his folly, he will wander right over the cliff.

Remember the lament of the unrepentant sinner: “The past has deceived me; the present torments, and the future terrifies me.”

Sin, An Act of Personal Freedom

In 14 Book Corner on 2014/01/10 at 12:00 AM

A true humanism must recognize that sin is “an integral part of the truth about man” because human beings are moral actors.  Men and women can, and do, commit evil acts, and those acts open up a double wound in the sinner, and in the sinner’s relationships with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, even strangers. (13.1., 13.2, 15.4)

To take sin seriously is to take human freedom seriously, John Paul suggests, and that is why the personal character of sin can never be diminished.  Psychological, cultural, and social factors condition the way people make their moral choices.  those factors, if strong enough , can constrain freedom and limit moral responsibility.  But these facts of life could not be understood in ways that erode a deeper truth – that sin is a result of an act of personal freedom, which is a crucial dimension of human dignity.  (16.1)

John Paul II : “Reconciliatio et Paenitentia” signed on December 12, 1984 as a  Post-Synod inspired document.

Cited in Weigel, George WITNESS TO TRUTH (biography of Pope John Paul II)

Good Intentions May Not Be Good

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/11/06 at 1:00 AM

I have attended many Catholic funerals in which the deceased is declared by the priest to be in Heaven. In one of these funerals, the deceased was an avowed atheist who had a Catholic funeral because his family of lapsed Catholics “had to do something.” The priest declared the atheist to be in Heaven at least 4-5 times.  I have heard Mother Angelica of EWTN declare twice in one program that a deceased was in Heaven. A nun who works with the elderly reminds them constantly that God is just waiting for them to die in order to sweep them into Heaven. And we have heard for decades about the “unconditional love” God has for people. Unfortunately, these efforts to make the living feel good is not  good theology.

There is a false teaching going around that God is so good that He could not possibly condemn anyone to Hell, and everyone eventually gets to Heaven. How many people have fallen for this idea, and decided that, no matter what they did, they couldn’t lose in the end?

It is very true that God condemns no one to Hell; we condemn ourselves by the type of life we have led on earth. In fact, our entire eternal destiny is in our hands and no one else’s.

One would not have to read very far in the divinely-inspired Psalms to learn what God thinks of sinners. He not only does not like them, but he warns of their ultimate destruction. Christ Himself referred to Hell more than to Heaven because He knew anyone can end up there if he/she so chooses, and it will not be pleasant at all. So much for the wishful thinking of universal salvation.

God’s love is unconditional and infinite in capacity.  What does that mean?  Simply put, it means that God will give every person the grace needed to do His will, but if a person decides to go his own way, then God will say to him: “Depart from me, I know you not.” It is true that God’s love for humans is unconditional but not in its application which respects human will. The love of God is always available, but it is not a matter of, “I will love you no matter what you do, no matter how sinful your life.” It is your choice.  As the sinner goes, he has a claim on infinite mercy, but he must ask for and seek it.

The Catholic who stopped attending Sunday Mass or is harboring other habitual mortal sins has severed his relationship with God (again, by his own choice). His only real hope is to receive the grace of repentance and to reform. At this point, God owes him nothing because such a person has rejected his status as a creature and refused to worship his Creator, or he insists on doing things his way regardless of the will of God. These are the real daredevils in life because there is no guarantee that they will even live to repent. Then what?

( Of course, I can speak only objectively here because no living person knows the status of another person in God’s eyes; we don’t really know our own status, for that matter.  (We are not judging; we are describing a condition of soul.)

The problem with sin, especially mortal sin, is that it always has negative consequences. First of all, sin is attractive; some sins are quite enjoyable (at the time). It is easy  to develop habits of sin, thereby compounding our predicament. I am always a bit amused at the Christmas and Easter attendees who skip the rest of the year. Who are they kidding?  Habits of mortal sin turn us away from God and things of God. They turn us away from the very purpose of human life, union with God for eternity. The habitual sinner will get to eternity, but he will spend it regretting his stupidity for falling for the Devil’s games.

There IS another false idea in circulation, namely, that at the moment after death we will get a chance to repent. There is not one bit of Biblical or theological or even rational evidence to support this. In fact, our last chance is the moment of death. After death, our fate is sealed.

Why are these perhaps well-intentioned “canonizations” at a funeral so wrong?

For a person to go immediately on death to heaven requires two conditions. One is that he be free of any sin, and that he not owe any temporal punishment due to his past sins.

Sins may be forgiven, but they still have a penalty due which is usually dealt with in Purgatory. I would think very few could qualify on both counts. (Martyrs are in a different category.)

In summary then, the mortal sinner, especially the habitual mortal sinner has in effect:

Rejected God

Added to the sufferings of Christ,

Defied the Divine Will,

Declared himself superior to God,

Decided that he is exempt from the moral law,

Possibly deprived himself of necessary graces  and blessings,

Become, in effect, a follower of Satan who hopes to lead him into his kingdom (Hell).

We live in a time when Christianity and religion in general are not only not respected, but are barely tolerated. The movers and shakers of the world are atheists in practice at least. Too many Catholics have jumped right into the culture propagated by these anti-God “leaders.”  Only about 20% of Catholics attend Sunday Mass regularly; 63% do not believe the Holy Eucharist is what Christ and the Church says It is. And on it goes!

The problem for Catholics who embrace the contemporary culture is that this culture cannot give anyone eternal salvation…just the opposite.

In the last analysis, we must choose eternal life or eternal death, God or Satan, Heaven or Hell. Whether you believe it or not, that’s all there is according to both Revelation and Reason.

Try to imagine what you will say immediately after you die, and you realize  “I blew it.” Worth it?

Life In a Mirage

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/07/19 at 12:00 AM

What is the most pernicious evil in the world today and has been for a long time, but has been rejected or denied or ignored by most people because they do not see the baneful effect of it?  Some even redefine it to fit their personal, political, or social agenda.  Even churches rarely warn against it.  In fact, the term for it is rarely heard or written about.  I  refer to what used to be called sin.

The first sin in history was almost fatal to the human race which at that time consisted of only two people.  Its devastating effects have plagued the human race ever since.

What is sin?  Since it affects everyone, we can deal with it without needing to mention religion because it is not peculiar to any particular group; it is a human problem.  Sin is an irrational act.  It is a failure of common sense.

Humans are a mixture of the rational and the animalistic or as has been said, humans are rational animals, animals who can think.  We certainly share many characteristics of animals.  In fact, Darwinian evolutionists have been attempting to convince us for more than a hundred and fifty years that we are nothing more than sophisticated monkeys.   But we also have a mind which gives us the ability to think, analyze, evaluate, ponder and abstract.  Animals cannot do this.  Thus humans can develop literature, law, music, art, and invent.  No animal has any of those talents.  A dog who came back to life after dying 50 years ago would be right at home with your dog; a normal man coming back to life after 50 years would be astonished at what he had to learn and relearn today.  Thus, the human intellect, even at the C or D  level, is outstanding compared to any animal.  That is why your dog cannot speak a single word in your language.

The intellect or mind is far more important than the body; it is meant to direct and control both itself and the body.  Thus we say that sin is an irrational action because it acts against the best interests and welfare of the person (soul and the body).  A sin is performing an act, or failing to perform one when required, which militates against some good of the body and/or the soul.

The reason that religion need not be mentioned here is that every person is endowed with a sense of moral right and wrong regardless of his religious belief or lack of it.  We instinctively know when something is morally good or bad.  This is called the Natural Moral Law which comes from the Creator.  But the Natural Moral Law is not looked upon favorably in modern society because it makes moral demands and too many “modern people” prefer evil to good.  The most concrete expression of the Moral Law is found in the Ten Commandments because they simply make sense; a society cannot function without them.  Imagine what would happen in your city if the Ten  Commandments were suspended for a week, or even a day.

While the idea of sin may be ignored or rejected, the evil effects persist regardless of our attitude towards the concept of sin.  Whenever we violate a natural law, either physical, intellectual, moral, somewhere, sometime, somehow, there will be a price to be paid.  Violate the law of gravity and you will pay the price immediately; violate the laws of learning and you will not acquire knowledge; violate the moral law regarding sex outside of marriage and all kinds of miseries will befall you.  There is simply no way to avoid or evade the consequence of irrational behavior.

Sin is also grossly deceptive.  It always promises far more than it will deliver.  In fact, sin has been defined as evil under the appearance of good.  We sin because we expect to get some reward, and we may in the short run, but sin, especially habits of serious sins will leave its mark.  We fool ourselves into thinking that moral evil will give us a better life than a moral good, but since sin is basically irrational, it cannot help but deceive the sinner.

Another aspect of sin is that vice (habits of sins) can lead to a kind of slavery.  The sinner becomes addicted to evil and cannot seem to stop sinning because the perceived benefit clouds his mind to the  adverse effects.  His mind no longer functions reasonably or with common sense.  Think of the drug addict, the serial adulterer or fornicator, the pornography addict; they are enslaved to vice and more often than not, are not even aware of it.  This is the ultimate deception of sin, slavery to the irrational.

When a people or a society reject the idea of sin, great misfortunes come to them:                                                                                     a. What used to be considered bad is now considered good and vice versa; for example, abortion used to be illegal and public prayer was never deemed inappropriate.

b. A minority of persons, sometimes just one person, can bring a whole cultural habit to a halt.  Example: Nativity scenes, public prayer by individuals, Christian prayer, display of religious symbols.  How many times has one atheist been allowed by a judge to disenfranchise thousands from participating in some religious practice because the atheists might be “offended”?

c. People develop a hardness of heart so that immorality seems to have no effect on their thought processes.  Nothing negative seems to bother them.  If you question them about violence on TV or sexually suggestive dialogue or totally humorless “humor”, the response will usually be a shrug because the moral beacon has been extinguished.

I have chosen to deal with this subject from the aspect of reason alone because, as I wrote above, morality affects everyone.  However, appealing to religious authority or orthodox Christian morality would make the case against sin even stronger.  There are those who claim that an anti-abortion attitude is merely a Catholic or Mormon doctrine.  The reality is that the anti-abortion argument can be made solely from a rational viewpoint without mentioning religion at all because abortion is in reality premeditated murder.  The pro-abortion arguments are easily refuted on the basis of reason alone.  Thus, being anti-abortion is simply being rational.

The world is awash in moral evil.  Every one of the Ten Commandments is being flagrantly violated and we are paying the price in the United States whether we realize it or not, because so much in society is going wrong.  Nothing seems to work out; no problems are really being solved; government officials do not seem to move from crisis to crisis with any effective plan to solve the problems.   Colleges have become little more than biased indoctrination centers.  The media has lost all semblance of honest and fair reporting; instead, it preaches an agenda. And on and on.

Unless we regain our grip on reality and start using our heads as nature intended and demands, collapse is inevitable.  Not a pleasant reality, but a definite historical reality.  While sin can be discussed without mentioning God, the reality is that life cannot be lived without Him. There is a Creator who designed the human person to have a relationship with Him. This has been shown over and over down the centuries whether we believe it or not. Not only that, but He has set a goal for us to be united with Him for eternity….whether you believe it or not. Whether we attain that goal depends on our choices throughout our lifetime. Sin, whether you consider it from a rational or religious point of view, militates against this goal. The deliberate habitual sinner will lose out.

The most important day of your life is the last one.   You may or may not know it’s the last day.  Your relationship to the Creator at that time will determine whether you have achieved the goal of human life or not. If you have lived in a mirage of enjoyable sin, you will not enjoy the following day.

The Unpreached Sermon: “a layman thinking like a priest”. Part II

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/01/05 at 9:11 AM

Let me tell you what he and she has done to themselves:

1. You live in a world of make-belief.  God has commanded us to worship Him (third commandment), but you have decided that, for you, the command is optional.  We are are nothing compared to God and we simply do not have a choice or right to reject a divine command.  The Church has made it relatively easy to obey this directive by mandating Sunday Mass (two hours at most out of one hundred and sixty eight) yet, in your crass stupidity you have decided that you will worship Supreme Being according to your own whim.  That is unrealistic!

2. This makes you the unwisest of people.  The divinely-set goal for humans is to be united with God for all eternity.  You, by amassing mortal sin after mortal sin, have shown a total lack of wisdom.  (A wise person knows what is important and valuable and acts on it appropriately.)  At this rate, no matter what worldly success you achieve, you will be a total failure in spiritual matters and that is what really counts against you.  A truly wise person knows this.

3.  Your salvation (goal) is at risk every second of your life.  You don’t know when you will die, and if you die loaded with serious sin, you will have objectively chosen hell for yourself.  Death is not the exclusive activity of the elderly; many, many younger people die through sickness, accident, life-style and crime.  If you are young it is true that you will likely be alive a year from now, BUT, it is not guaranteed, and that’s the problem.  It is rather dumb to risk hell for whatever activity you have decided is more important than Sunday Mass.  “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul.”  Sometimes people will take risks for noble reasons such as to save lives, but to risk your soul for mere two hours a week is neither realistic nor wise.

4.  You have cut yourself off from God.  (If you have unconfessed mortal sin today, do not come up for Holy Communion because that would be a sacrilege which is a worse sin than skipping Mass.)  The only grace you can legitimately pray for is the grace of repentance through Confession.  While you live, Christ can forgive a million mortal sins, if repentant.  After death, there is no mercy available, only judgment.  The game is over and you have either won or lost.

5. Your spiritual life has probably been further ruined because failure to attend Mass regularly is often the result of other habitual sins that make Mass attendance seem useless.  Bishop Fulton Sheen used to say that no one left the Church because he sat down and examined its doctrine and found them to be false.  It can’t be done.  The underlying reason, he said, was habits of serious sin such as marital infidelity, alcoholism, drugs, pornography, etc…

If you are in this very negative situation, my words are spoken in persona Christ.  He may be offering you that grace of repentance because He knows you do not have long to live.  Or you may actually feel a terrible burden combined with fear of the future.  If Christ is speaking and calling you today, don’t be dumb and ignore it because the Bible tells us that He will loose patience with stubborn sinner who consistently ignore His grace and they become spiritually hard-hearted.

Christmas is a great day for family and feast but I will be here after Mass today to hear Confessions and forgive you in the name of Christ for as long as anyone wishes to come.   This would be your greatest Christmas gift.