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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I take it you're not an enthusiastic endorser of the "felix culpa" notion that Adam's fall was a happy event because it brought us such a great Savior?

Here's a wild perspective, based on something I've read about Mary: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an especially powerful means of obtaining mercy, because in a sense the Sacred Heart is indebted, so to speak, to our sins, without which the Sacred Heart would not have been created. (Or, if you hold the opinion that the Incarnation would have occurred without the Fall, it would have been created but would not have been exalted as a means of Divine mercy.)

Dear Tom

Actually, I need to write at some length about Felix culpa and the evolutionary debate, because I AM, surprisingly an enthusiastic endorser of that idea.

In fact I endorse these ideas--my problem is too often they don't occur to me in the event. It isn't that these things are wrong, rather that I bring them to mind too infrequently--hence my note to self called a blog--remember, fall and get up, fall and get up, fall and get up (or perhaps more appropriately, fall and be raised...)






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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 17, 2005 6:47 AM.

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