Saint's Lives and Writing: May 2005 Archives

How to Regard Sin

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from A Path Through the Desert
Anselm Grüm

Antony talks very soberly about sin and about the tempation that accompanies us throughout our life. He is not fightened by it. He holds it out to God. He does not keep circling around his guilt, but instead gazes on God's love. He does not condemn himself. His sin, rather, becomes an occasion for him to direct his gaze to God. He knows himself to be loved unconditionally by God. But he also knows that the experience of love is not something he can clutch to himself for in the very next moment he will again be confronted by his emptiness and his remoteness from God.

I don't know that I have ever thought about sin as an occasion for intimacy with God. Certainly when I become aware of God, I ask forgiveness, both personally and in the sacrament of confession. However, because of the way I was brought up there is nothing particularly joyful about this. One admits one's guilt before the authority and hopes to get off with a light sentence.

My image of God is colored by my image of justice and of mercy here on Earth. Thus justice and mercy are not something I actively seek out. However, I am wrong in this estimation. Justice and mercy are not human but divine and their only true image comes from the God who loves us. When we sin Our Father calls us back home to wash us off--not to lecture us with stern lectures, not to knock us around, not to berate us or even to stare at us with sad, soulful eyes. Rather, very matter-of-factly he takes us into His arms and into His and cleans us off. He loves us, unconditionally.

So, in fact, sin is an opportunity to turn and look God in the face, to say to Him, "It is ever thus when I am left to myself, please help me." It is a time to experience God's all-encompassing love. We must face the reality of Paul's question, "What then should we sin the more that God's grace may abound?" And, of course, the answer is no. However, once the fault has been committed, we should not hesitate to look at Him who loves us, admit our guilt and ask Him to wash us clean from it.

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My Way of Life


I have seen a lilttle book of this title ten thousand times when I go to the Shrine Bookstore. I always pass it by because it is incongruously placed with all those little prayer books and Novena books (against which I hold no animus, but I already have so many of them that the side of the house where they are stored lists). So, as a result, I have never picked it up.

Samuel has been taking an interest in books of late--mostly of the "Captain Underpants" variety, but any time we go to a store, like any child, he wants us to buy him something. Today he decided that this little book was just the right size for him and picked it up.

I initially had him put it back, but then I looked at it and saw that it was published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood, a group for whom my admiration has increased without bounds since encounter Father Keyes at The New Gasparian. This interest caused me to look further and I discovered that it was written by Father Walter Farrell, who also wrote a multivolume commentary on the Summa that I was lucky enough to purchase a few years back. And as I looked further, the book purported to be a condensation of the thought of the Summa. Indeed, it is subtitled, The Summa for Everyone. Well, that provoked me enough to buy it.

I've dipped in here and there and all I can say is that while the whole Church should follow the teachings the Church has approved of St. Thomas, not everyone is up to reading the Summa. For those who are not, I'll let you know, but this seems to be an excellent remedy to that one failing.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Saint's Lives and Writing category from May 2005.

Saint's Lives and Writing: April 2005 is the previous archive.

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