Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Real Sin: Regarding It Without Abhorrence

O God, you willed to redeem us from all iniquity by your
Son: Deliver us when we are tempted to regard sin without
abhorrence, and let the virtue of his passion come between
us and our mortal enemy; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.

The reality is that, as a human creature, I have innate limitations. One of them is that I cannot in this life, as Julian of Norwich says, "keep...from sin as totally in complete purity as...in heaven." To acknowledge and accept that fact, while intentionally striving to become less self-centered and selfish, is part of spiritual wisdom. But there's another attitude which can infect us. St. Paul alluded to it in Romans 6:1-2: "What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?..." Only a fool would do that because, in the end, our selfishness only drives us further into loneliness and pain. But Julian speaks of a hopeful alternative: "...by grace we can well keep ourselves from the sins which would lead us to endless pain...and avoid the venial ones, reasonably within our power; and, if at any time we fall by our blindness and our misery, that we can readily arise, knowing the sweet touching of grace...and go forthwith to God in love..."

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