Tag: sin

The Stages of Sin

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This article originally appeared on Community in Mission, the blog for the Archdiocese of Washington.

By Msgr. Charles Pope

We are living in times when many are doubling down on their sin. As the darkness grows, many fiercely defend their sinful practices. This is especially evident in the matter of abortion. The science could not be clearer that there is a unique, beautifully formed, distinct human life in the womb of a pregnant mother, with a heartbeat, brain activity, alternating sleep and wake cycles, and the ability to feel pain. Despite this, many demand that all limits on abortion be removed. They “shout” and celebrate abortion, rejoicing in the dismemberment of babies in the womb and all the while considering themselves morally superior to those who support life.

How does it happen that so many obstinately persist in sin and promote wickedness until they are ultimately lost? As with all progressive diseases, sin is a sickness that moves through stages, further debilitating and hardening the sinner in his ways.

St. Alphonsus Liguori laid out five stages through which sin (if not resisted and repented of in its initial attacks) takes an increasing toll on the human person, making repentance less likely and more difficult.

While the names of the stages are mine, I am summarizing the insights of St. Alphonsus, who details these stages in his lengthy essay, “Considerations on the Eternal Maxims” (also called “Preparation for Death”) in Chapter 22, “On Evil Habits.” I have added some of my own additional insights as well.

Stage 1: Impairment – The first effect of habitual sin is that it blinds the understanding. Scripture says, Their own malice blinded them(Wisdom 2:21). Yes, every sin produces blindness, and the more that sins are multiplied, the greater the blindness they produce.

A further effect of this blindness is a foolish and dangerous wandering about. Scripture provides several references for this:

  • The wicked walk round about (Ps 12:8).
  • They stagger as with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment (Is 28:7).
  • Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the pit that he has made (Ps 7:14-15).

Thus, habitual sin leads to impaired vision and an impaired walk. Not seeing, the wicked stumble about and fall into a pit of their own making.

Continue reading here.

‘Your Sins are Forgiven’

Christ_Healing_the_Mother_of_Simon_Peter’s_Wife_by_John_Bridges
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The following post originally appeared as the Friday, January 12, 2018 Magnificat mediatation. You can learn more about the Magnificat here.

If you are praying for someone and sense that guilt or sin is an obstacle, a good approach is to ask very discreetly and gently, “I sense that there may be something weighing on your conscience that is an obstacle to healing. Do you think that might be the case?” Allow the person complete freedom to decide whether and how much he wants to disclose. Never coerce or pry for information. If the person says no, then simply continue to pray for healing, and trust the Lord to do whatever interior work he needs to do in his timing. If the person says yes, then invite him to say a simple prayer of repentance (either out loud or silently, as appropriate) and to leave that sin at the foot of the cross. Encourage him to avail himself of the grace and power of the Sacrament of Reconcilation as soon as possible. Then pray for the physical healing. . . .

The bottom line is that we are not the ones to judge whether a physical ailment is related to personal sin. God alone is the judge. Even the afflicted person should not assune to judge himself (cf. 1 Cor 4:4). And whether the ailment is related to sin or not, God’s mercy abounds for both forgiveness and healing. God does not heal because we deserve it but simply because he loves us.

Living with a Daniel Heart

The following post originally appeared on i.d.9:16’s blog.

By Joey McCoy

“Bear one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2).

What are the burdens that people in our community, Church, and family walk around with? They are myriad and unique to each individual. In some way or another every one is walking around with the burden infused into them by sin.

We live in a war zone of sin that rips our flesh apart. Anyone who saw Hacksaw Ridge knows an unnerving image of what sin looks like (and not just war-related sin, but the effect of sin in general looks as hideous and hellish as the pulverized, disembodied humanity depicted in that movie). And sin is everywhere. At almost any given day of our lives, in a five mile circumference around us, there has been hate, lust, envy, pornography, indifference, violence, fornication, adultery, masturbation, pride, arrogance, greed, deliberate drunkenness, theft, idolatry, gluttony, etc. Like the lead in Flint’s water, sin leeches into our world daily. And, we know we aren’t exempt: we add our own sins into the mix (Gal 6:1b).

Continue reading here.