Mortal Sin is Mortal Combat


I am Catholic

Mortal sin is Mortal Combat

By Pat Miron

Allow me my friend to add another layer of understanding, rather than simply comment on the Great Theologian; Thomas Aquinas profound teaching on Mortal Sin.

There are in my opinion, two Divine mysteries that are so profound that they alone ought to supply sufficient motivation for being a Informed, and Fully Practicing Catholic. They are the “Real Presence,” Catholic Holy Communion which invites one to an intimate union with our Creator God, far more intimate and personal than even married love. For is this Blessed Sacrament we not only participate “in it“, we literally SHARE in its substance as we become One with our God. …. The Second mystery deals with the forgiveness of our sins in the manner God Himself has ordained. [And therefore the ONLY sure method]. The result when we participate humbly; repent and convert from our hearts, ,further supported by our future actions is “Known forgiveness of our sins.” No greater source of true-inner-peace and inexpressible joy is known to humanity.

Luke.15: 7“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

The past few hundred years has seen the introduction by mortal men, various subtle “shortcuts,“ that are

deceitful, devious, duplicitous, underhanded, unreliable, untrustworthy, and motivated by a need for expediency driven by [radio, then television broadcast time restrictions]. Theologies like the “Sinners Prayer,“ and teaching that one need only “Know Christ” to be saved; that once one “is saved” [OSAS] one can [will /does] no longer sin is further lead by selling a pleasing hoax to human understanding, while trying to  alter a complex and profound Divine teaching. Likely well motivated; but nevertheless a Grave endangering of Souls, anything different than what God himself clearly commands is a very high risk belief. These are myths, a hoax, perpetrated on gullible innocent children of God. Another motive is “an easier, less painful, less humiliating way,” necessarily quicker, and facilitating the “easy-sell” on Broadcast media as an “quick-fix” alterative to Catholic Teachings.

Any informed discussion about sin will evolve around mans personal choices, mans own freewill-decisions. It would be a good idea to frame our discussion with a few bible passages, to insure the understanding that what we share is of Devine, not human origin. The background for what we Catholics understand and teach, believe and practice comes from both Sacred Tradition of the Old Testament, and Revelation by the teachings of Christ Himself in the new perfected Covenant in Christ own Blood of the New Testament. It is highly significant that Christ Passion and the shedding of His Blood, share in both of these mysterious, and powerful Sacraments, and that God could have chosen other ways to accomplish these task.

Sin can only exist because of 1.

The manner in which we emulate our God. Possessing too a mind, intellect and a FREEWILL that are permanently attached to our Souls. without which sin would not be possible. 2. Sin requires always and every time the freewill consent of man. Even when prodded by this or that circumstance or condition, which God has grated to Satan to test us; sin always is a personal choice we must make.

Sin can be defined

as: “Saying NO! to God.” Logic conforms to the reality of this offence being either 1. Lesser [Venial sins] or 2. Greater [Mortal sins]. Because God is “All Good things Perfected,”  God’s response must be in relation  and proportion to the offense, as JUDGED by God’s, not mans standard.

The GREATEST failing of humanity,

beginning with Adam and Eve and all humanity since is not being able to comprehend how deeply God abhors all sin. Sin attacks the very grain of Gods goodness, mercy and love. And what makes it even worse; it is as already stated, our freewill choice. It is a direct affront to God’s goodness, fairness and justice.

The origin of sin begin with Satan. God’s first creation in “his own image” was Angels who possess to a far greater degree than does humanity; a more nearly perfect intellect, mind, and freewill. Having a level of right understanding that we shall never possess in this mortal life. Both Angels and Adam and Eve lived a “perfect” existence lacking ONLY One Thing. NOT actually being God. Not simply being LIKE God; but actually being God. Driven by pride which is now Satan’s KEY to the lock on our souls, and further accessed through our emotions; Satan has enormous, unimagined powers of influence granted by God in order to test us. Facilitated even more by a ruthless lack of moral values, and completely without scruples, Satan is ALWAYS on “the attack.” . God seeks “perfect love” returned to Him, in response to the perfect love that He offers to us. The fact that we can and therefore MUST freely choose to love or to hate God, is what adds value nearing perfection to our right choice.

1John.1 Verses 8 to 10

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

1John.5 Verses 16 to 1

“If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sinbut there is [also] sin which is not mortal.”

John.20 Verses 20 to 23

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”

Heb.5 Verses 1 to 6 “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.”   John.15: 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

Lev.19:22“And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed; and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.”

Let me be clear from the start. “Only God can and Only God does forgive our sins

.Acts.4: 12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Luke.11: 4“and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.” [The Lord’s Prayer.]

Acts.2: 38“And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Exod.10: 17“Now therefore, forgive my sin, I pray you, only this once, and entreat the LORD your God only to remove this death from me.”

Matt.9: 2, 5-6  “And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.”

Matt.26: 28“for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark.1: 4“John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

Let’s then resolve the issue of “WHY” forgiveness of sis in in an absolute sense necessary IF one is to attain the Eternal Bliss of heaven.

Matt. 17:19

“ ….. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Matt.5: 29-30 [Jesus Himself taught] If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” [Not literal BUT conveying God’s absolute abhorrence of sin.]

Rev.2: 23“and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches [speaking here of regions, not different faiths] shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

The absolutely necessary forgiveness of ALL of our sins is predicated on the principles of God’s fairness and justice as well as the scientific principle that “all actions cause a like reaction.” Therefore “good” begets good, and evil begets “evil.” It is a profound truth that God cannot choose to permit evil without imposing just consequences. Such is the Nature of a Perfect God.

Rev. 21: 27 “But nothing unclean shall enter it, [Heaven] nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Mt. 5: 26truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny. Matt.5: 48“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Nature of Sin

Devine Justice demands that each sin be judged by God upon it effects and consequences to our souls, to our relationship with God and to those who are effected by our sins. For sin is very seldom a private matter, not effecting others. Therefore God judges sins as either “lesser” [venial], or “greater” [Mortal] in assigning merit of consequences to them.  It is important to know that nothing remains hidden from God. God reads our minds and our hearts, and then factors in our degree of intent to harm, as well as the natural effects of our actions on all. …. Every sin has TWO separate types of consequences; two separate“ natures.” The first we might term the “apparent” [that which can be known], and the second; the “hidden,” but no less real. BOTH have there own separate consequences, and BOTH contribute to the imperfect condition of our souls, so both MUST be repaid in full if one is to attain heaven.

Mark.3: 28 -29  “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” So the only unforgivable sin is “denial” of God.

Venial sins:

These are sins most often of impulse or emotion. There intent is not “harm to others” but they may inadvertently have such an effect. Venial sins need not, in an absolute sense “have to be confessed in the sacrament of Confession” to be forgiven. One can appeal directly to God and at Mass we all join in a public “Act of Contrition” that through the mercy of God and the graces offered at Mass; remit all venial sins. [This is essential so that when we receive our God in Holy Communion, our souls are completely without sin. [Holy Communion is NEVER to be participated in when not in the state of grace caused by unconfessed, and unforgiven Mortal sin.] Even these “lesser” sins can have long term, even lasting effects on our souls if they become habitual, and go uncurbed. They can lead us to more serious sins if we just accept them as insignificant.

Mortal sins:

As the name itself implies. “Mortal” means “death.” This death is spiritual in nature and so severe that it severs [for a time] our personal relationship with our God. It dramatically reduces the flow of grace to our souls and numbs our conscience when repeated

All Mortal sins must be confessed in the Sacrament of Confession. Relating and explaining the circumstances [relevant to the degree of guilt], the number of times committed and any other information that relates to the seriousness of the offense, such as others [not by name] who were hurt by the action.

Mortal sin too falls into two categories. Sins that are “conditional” meaning that the circumstances surrounding the issue cause them to be “Mortal sins” and “intrinsic evil” that are always and every time, under every condition and reason, because of there obvious severity, classified as Mortal sins. These sinful acts are, or should be known by everyone, as being serious offences against what is morally“right.”

Jer.31:33“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Heb.10: 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds.”

Examples of “intrinsic evils.” …. Intentional, premeditated murder, abortion, all-support of those in favor of abortion, slander that ruins a reputation [even if true], infidelity in marriage, pre-marital’ sex, missing by intent Sunday or Holy day Mass, contraception, extreme acts of lack of charity. And this is by no means the entire list of these evils.

Conditional Mortal sin

is less clear. There are three conditions that must be met in order for a “conditional Mortal sin” to exist. 1. Serious matter 2. Pre-knowledge that it is a serious matter 3. Then a desire to do “it” anyway. The “10 Commandments” are not “only ten sins”, they are categories of possible sins.

Perhaps a couple of illustrations will help make it more clear?

I steal $10.00 from a truly needy person. …. I pad my expense voucher to the multi-million dollar company I work for by the same $10.00. Both are sinful acts. Because in the first instance I am taking from true need, but in the second; from surplus want; the degree of culpability [degree of guilt incurred] on my part makes the first action a “serious” matter and a possible Mortal sin [if the other two conditions are also met], while in the second case; because of the circumstances, the necessary condition of “serious matter” does not apply. KNOW that in BOTH cases real and actual repayment will be required.

Serious Matter

The guideline to be used is “would a majority of moral and like-mind persons consider this particular act to be “serious matter?” This assumes that these people have a properly informed conscience. So if we were to relate the above circumstances to 100 people; if more than half would agree that in the first case it is serious matter and in the second case that it is not. That is what we would use. If SINCERE / honest doubts remain, knowing that God reads both our minds and our hearts, to the validity of  “serious matter” one should 1. ASSUME that it is NOT serious matter. 2. DISCUSS it with your Confessor in your next confession. 3. Make an exerted effort to avoid repeating this action until you have the opportunity to gain informed counsel.

Pre-knowledge of serious matter

In order for an act to become a Mortal Sin, one must be fully aware that the act being contemplated is going to be a mortal sin BEFORE it is committed.

Desire to commit the Mortal sin

For a Mortal sin to be “committed” it is sufficient that freewill desire be present. If for some reason one is unable to fulfill this sinful desire; it is still a Mortal Sin. Desire to commit is seen by God as having actually accomplished the act.

Payback of the “real things” and Reparation for our sins

So now we have a debt that we owe to both society, and to God. Payment is demanded and expected. But how is it accomplished?

The Confessor priest might impose specific things beyond the “normal penance” [usually in the form of specified prayers, but can be something else] that we must accomplish in order for the forgiveness granted to actually take effect. Perhaps a donation to a charity, or performing certain acts of charity. Perhaps asking for forgiveness from the parties we have hurt [this is seldom a requirement, but a possibility]. It can be what ever the priest feels is warranted, appropriate, and beneficial to our soul and that we are actually able to accomplish.

Reparation

of The Hidden [latent] effects of sin

As indicated above all sins, because sin has a public aspect to it, have in addition to the “real payback” required [in the examples above the $10.00], we must make “whole or complete” the wrongs we have caused, and repair as much as possible the harmful effects we have inflicted. Many times this is neither simply accomplished or even physically possible. How does one restore life for example, or a ruined reputation, or a broken marriage caused by infidelity, or even the padded $10.00?  These wrongs too must be repaid. We see here that even after our sins have been confessed and forgiven; there remains the “lingering effects of our sin which continue to exist.” WHY? Because in a sense all sins are public, in that they have the potential to effect others, besides the one [in this case from whom the money was taken from]. Perhaps it took food from a family? Perhaps your discovered and you gave scandal? Perhaps it effects your families reputation? Perhaps your example causes someone else to follow your example? The possibilities for others to be effected are many.

The result is that these “lingering effects” too must be “paid for and repaired” before we can be Perfected, and qualify for heaven. How might this be accomplished? God and His One Catholic Church give us multiple ways to make amends. Here is a partial list:

Acts of charity

Daily Mass

Supporting the church either with money and or your God Given talents and time

Good works [like praying for others]

Adoration and Devine Worship

Indulgences [which is a separate topic]

The Sacrament of the “Last Rites.” [Has same effects a does the sacrament of Baptism.]

And if all of these fail to make us Perfect while still on earth; then there is Purgatory; a place of GREAT suffering; and GREAT HOPE, knowing that once we have been perfected; we too will access heaven and meet God “Face to Face.”

Forgiveness of Mortal sin require The sacrament of Confession [John 20;23 above]. This is the norm and the ordinary means that God demands. It requires 1. Humility 2. Contrition 3. Conversion of heart and a Catholic priest. There does exist an “extraordinary form” but that, because it is rare, too is a separate issue.

I do not wish in the present teaching to cover in detail the role of the priest and the sacrament of reconciliation itself. But Know that the priest does have a necessary and essential role, and that it REMAINS God who actually forgives us our sin. The use of priest is carried over from Old Testament times, dating back at least as far as Moses. The role is now expanded as are the responsibilities of the New Testament priesthood in total.

Humility

is the most necessary of all the virtues as it encompasses charity, faith and hope. Because “pride is Satan’s key to the lock to our souls; humility is the protector of our souls and our entire spiritual wellbeing. .

Contrition

is TRUE heart felt; life changing sorrow for having offended God. It is also sincere sorrow for inflicting injury on a brother or sister in Christ. One of the primary task of the priest is to ascertain the presence of “true contrition” within the penitent, before granting absolution.

Conversion of heart.

Contrition [sorrow] to be “true” requires a sincere effort and desire to alter how we actually life our lives. “Avoiding the near occasion of sin” becomes a serious issue and is not to be taken lightly. We are to avoid those things, people and places that MIGHT tempt us beyond our willingness to deny them. We are to take responsibility for out thoughts, our words and our deeds.

The final point I wish to share is that sin itself can take TWO distinct forms.

We can sin both Mortally and in lesser ways in what we choose to do AND WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO, BUT FAIL TO ACCOMPLISH.  Sins of “commission” and sins of “OMISSION” are of equal guilt. Lack of charity is a prime example.

Deut.30: 19“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,

Sir.15: 17“Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him.”

Oh my God I am truly sorry for having offended thee, who are All Good, and deserving of ALL of my love. I FIRMLY resolve with the help of your grace, to Confess ALL of my sins; to fulfill the penance given to me, and to avoid the near occasion of sin in my life. AMEN!

May God continue to Guide, lead, protect and Bless you,

Pat

Why Did God Decide to Become a man?


I am Catholic By Pat Miron

Why friends, Did God choose to become “Just a man”

like  us in every way EXCEPT sin?

Comments by

FR. KENNETH BAKER, S.J.

“The Nicene Creed does not use the exact word “Savior” in speaking of Jesus, but it does state the reason why the Word of God became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven.”

“So the purpose of the Incarnation was to effect the salvation of all mankind

. St. Paul says in 1 Timothy (1:15) that “Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners.” In the Gospel of John we read: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world… that the world might be saved through him” (3:16-17). In the biblical use, “salvation” is related to redemption and liberation. In the book of Exodus, we read how God called his people out of Egypt, how he saved them from slavery under the Pharoah. When the Bible and the Creed speak of “salvation” they are talking about the liberation of mankind from the power of sin, death and the devil. We know from revelation, especially from Genesis and the infallible teaching of the Church, that in the beginning God created man in a state of innocence and friendship with himself. As a result of man’s rejection of God’s love, he lost his original innocence, came under the power of sin and the devil, and was subject to death. Having lost God’s grace, which was a pure gift to begin with and thus something to which he had no just claim, man became an outcast, unable to achieve the noble destiny to which God had ordained him.

Since man could not save himself from sin, could not by his own efforts regain the grace of God, God in his own infinite wisdom resolved to become man

. Thus Jesus, the God-man, was able to make satisfaction to God’s justice, for all his actions had infinite worth. Very succinctly, therefore, the Creed proclaims that the reason for the Word becoming flesh was to accomplish the salvation of men. And when the Creed says “men” it means “all men” without any distinction as to race, color or creed. God’s salvation is not restricted to the chosen people. In the writings of St. Paul we learn that faith in Christ was first offered to the Jews and then to the gentiles. Some Jews accepted it and some rejected it, just as some gentiles believed and some did not.

When the Church says that “he came down from heaven”, she is referring to the pre-existence of the divine Word that became man in Jesus of Nazareth. Thus the Person who is Jesus existed from all eternity in the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The meaning is that he did not commence his existence with his conception in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He began to be in his human nature only.

Father Baker recently was the Editor of

Homiletic & Pastoral Review Magazine, which I have read for quite a number of years. Now like me Father is retired. He is a brilliant and concise Theologian.

I seldom begin a lesson with the answer, but I wanted to share another solidly Catholic testimony to what we will be expanding on. Just WHY DID GOD ORDIAN to be a “man like us?”

The long-term goal of these lessons is to not only teach you our Catholic Faith, but also to give you sufficient knowledge to enable you to explain our beliefs and practices to others. Towards this end; using the bible as our primary guide as it is the only recognized authority [from my lips to our God’s ears], that many non-Catholics will listen to, even if not correctly understood or fully accepted by them. We will attempt to expand this beautiful explanation of Father Baker‘s.

This Prophesy dates between five and six hundred years before the birth of

Christ. Daniel 2:28-35

“but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnez’zar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be hereafter, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living has this mystery been revealed to me, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind. “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it smote the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces;  then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth”

And this Prophesy from Isaiah dates to more than 700 years before the birth of Christ.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Obviously God has planned this from all time. But without a fuller understanding of Who and What God is, and understanding just what God for a time freely gave up, we shall never grasp the reality that humanity alone is a “Creation of God’s Own Want.”

Isa.43 Verses 7and 21: every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” AND the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.”

I have often shared and used a brief but accurate definition of God. “God is every good thing perfected.” Not only is our God every good thing; but He is both the cause and the effect of every good thing.

Genesis 1: 31 “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.”

The first point to be aware of is how this effects humanity. Because God is already “perfect” and “perfect” cannot be made more “perfect,” so everything that God does, every thing that God commands, everything that God accomplishes, and  everything that God suffers and endures is for the sake of His humanity. God reaps no benefit beyond the Fulfillment of His Divine Will.

When we express the truth that “God is all good,” what does are we saying? God is ALL EVERYTHING GOOD means and includes all of the following.

OMNIPOTENCE “

The almighty power of God. He can do whatever does not deny his nature or that is not self-contradictory. Since God is infinite in being, he must also be infinite in power. (Etym. Latin omnis, all + potentia, power: omnipotens, all-powerful.)”

OMNIPRESENCE “

God being simultaneously wherever he is, since he is present everywhere. The divine omnipresence is two-fold, by nature and by grace.

By nature God is present in all things by essence, knowledge, and power. This is the presence of a cause in the things that share in God’s goodness. By his essence, he is substantially in all things, including the created spiritual essences (angels, demons, human souls ) as the immediate origin of their existence. By his knowledge, he exercises his wisdom directly in all creation down to the least details. By his power, he operates with divine activity as the First Cause of everything that creatures do.

By grace, God is further present in the souls in whom he dwells as in a temple. Hence the creature is joined, as it were, to God’s substance, through the activity of mind and heart, by faith cleaving to the First Truth, and by charity to the First Good. He is therefore present by grace as the known is to the knower and the beloved is to the lover. This presence is more than a cause in an effect. It is the possession of God on earth similar to his being possessed by the angels and saints in heaven”

OMNISCIENCE. “

God’s knowledge of all things. Revelation discloses that the wisdom of God is without measure (Psalm 146:5). And the Church teaches that his knowledge is infinite.

The primary object of divine cognition is God himself, whom he knows immediately, that is, without any medium by which he apprehends his nature. He knows himself through himself.

The secondary objects of divine knowledge are everything else, namely the purely possible, the real, and the conditionally future. He knows all that is merely possible by what is called the knowledge of simple intelligence. This means that, in comprehending his infinite imitability and his omnipotence, God knows therein the whole sphere of the possible.

He knows all real things in the past, present, and the future by his knowledge of vision. When God, in his self-consciousness, beholds his infinite operative power, he knows therein all that he, as the main effective cause, actually comprehends, i.e., all reality. The difference between past, present, and future does not exist for the divine knowledge, since for God all is simultaneously present.”

By the same knowledge of vision, God also foresees the future free acts of the rational creatures with infallible certainty. As taught by the Church, “All things are naked and open to His eyes, even those things that will happen through the free actions of creatures” (Denzinger 3003). The future free actions foreseen by God follow infallibly not because God substitutes his will for the free wills of his creatures but because he does not interfere with the freedom that he foresees creatures will exercise. (Etym. Latin omnis, all + scire, to know.)

And PERHAPS most significantly to humanity? God is the personification and the perfection of LOVE itself.

Romans 5: 1-10 “

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, [BUT NOT FAITH ALONE!] we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man — though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  [If we actually “Know Christ” which infers the absolute need to accept and to do ALL that He taught and commands, and to follow those that Christ Himself choose to leave in charge.]

Luke 1: 26-35  “

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

What did God have to “give-up /forego to Bless us with His “human and Divine Presence?

Ps.148: 2“Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host! 4Ezra.8: 21 “whose throne is beyond measure and whose glory is beyond comprehension, before whom the hosts of angels stand trembling” PrAzar.1: 37“Bless the Lord, you angels of the Lord, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever“ Luke 2:10-14 “And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,”

Humanity has long struggled to find words that describe what God gave up to become a mortal man. The image I use [completely inadequate though it is], is to think of Albert Einstein’s mind, intellect and freewill in an ordinary finite-earthworm. Even this image falls incomprehensibility short of what our Almighty Infinite God put aside willingly for a time to assume the Person we know as Jesus Christ. A finite human being, with all the finite-limitations including mortality, that we ourselves have. Then as if where not enough, God choose to be born in a cave; placed in a manger, a food trough, become subordinate to an aging carpenter, and a young virgin Jewish girl as His Mother.  And finally to die and be laid to rest in a borrowed tomb. HUMILITY from the beginning to the end, so that we MIGHT learn the essential importance of this Godly virtue.

When the time came for Christ earthly-ministry He choose to dignify a marriage ceremony to provide the first evidence of His Divinity. He choose to change ordinary water in to “excellent wine.”

[John chapter2]. He choose a marriage ceremony to heighten the importance that God Himself places on this age old act now raised to the level of a Blessed Sacrament, which is NOT TO BE SET ASIDE. [Hebrews 13:4] Jesus choose to change water into wine to show that He HAS the power to alter the very substances of nature itself. Prefiguring the soon to come: “miracle of miracles.” Christ wants to make clear who He is and WHAT He is. That “knowing” of Him is by itself insufficient for our salvation. Knowing Christ must mean, and obligates ALL to learn exactly what he taught, what He commanded, what obligations must be fulfilled, and recognize what he founded and launched to protect , to guide and to lead all men in our struggle for our possible salvation. Everything God does has a precise reason and a goal. Those who do attain their salvation will be those who learned, understood and then accepted and lived these “Eternal- Life Lesson’s.”

All of the many miracles, past, present and future are for the POSSIBLE benefit of mankind. Physical miracles are easy compared to Spiritual conversions. WHY? Because they require man’s own freewill assent to them.

If you were asked: “Why did Christ become man?,”

your answer likely would deal with the issue of salvation. And you would be

CORRECT. But my friend what does this actually mean? What does it entail, and what does in obligate and require of us?

The problem stems I think from our language limitations. The natural propensity to automatically apply the most common human understanding of terms which also have Divine applications.

Webster defines

“redemption” as “the act, process, or an instance of redeeming”  and “salvation” as “ 1. a: deliverance from the power and effects of sin 2. liberation from ignorance or illusion .“  Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary defies these same two words, “Redemption”  as “The salvation of humanity by Jesus Christ. Literally, to redeem means to free or buy back. Humanity was held captive in that it was enslaved by sin. Since the devil overcame human beings by inducing them to sin, they were said to be in bondage to the devil. Moreover, the human race was held captive as to a debt of punishment, to the payment of which it was bound by divine justice. …. On all these counts, the Passion of Christ was sufficient and superabundant satisfaction for human guilt and the consequent debt of punishment. His Passion was a kind of price or ransom that paid the cost of freeing humanity from both obligations. Christ rendered satisfaction, not by giving money, but by spending what was of the highest value. He gave himself, and therefore his Passion is called humanity’s Redemption. (Etym. Latin redemptio, a buying back, ransoming, redemption.)” And salvation” as ” In biblical language the deliverance from straitened circumstances or oppression by some evil to a state of freedom and security. As sin is the greatest evil, salvation is mainly liberation from sin and its consequences. This can be deliverance by way of preservation, or by offering the means for being delivered, or by removing the oppressive evil or difficulty, or by rewarding the effort spent in co-operating with grace in order to be delivered. All four aspects of salvation are found in the Scriptures and are taught by the Church. (Etym. Latin salvare, to save.)”

The problem arises with the “tense” of the words. It is widely assumed that both words are BOTH and at the same time present and past tense. “Done Deals.” Fully accomplished acts; when the Divine reality is this. They are indeed an accomplished act. BUT Just what was [is] accomplished is what is so often not grasped, or understood?

For these terms to be taken as commonly understood would imply that every man, women and child is BOTH Redeemed and saved.

But if this were [is] true, why bother with the Church, the bible, hell or purgatory? There would be no sin, and no need for any of them. Yet they exist. Logically there must be a reason for this.

What is NOT made sufficiently clear in the use of our common biblical languages is just what precisely was, and is accomplished by Christ birth, life, death and resurrection.

What WAS accomplished and IS accomplished is a far as the East is from the West as an accomplished fact of salvation being assured. It is the difference between “COULD,” “WOULD,” and “SHOULD,” in the oft presumed idea of a completed act in saving souls. The correct answer evolves around GRACE, and how grace is always connected to “faith.” Grace being a free gift from God and OFFERED to ALL for the POSSIBILITY of our salvation, with TRUE- FAITH being our necessary response to this offer of grace just to make the reality of our salvation a possibility.

Wis.3: 9 “Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.”

John.1: 14“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 16 -17 And from his fullness have we all received, [offers of] grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

Rom.3: 24“they are justified by his grace as a gift, [OFFERED] through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, “

Rom.4: 16That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants — not only to the adherents of the law [commandments] but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all,”

Rom.5:1-2 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, [BUT NOT FAITH ALONE] we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

Eph.1:6-7  to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” [ACCEPTED and RIGHTLY APPLIED]

Eph.2: 8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God”

The summation of WHY Christ became man and just what he accomplished lies in the degree of 1. The amount of grace offered to each of us [always sufficient for our POSSIBLE salvation] 2. Our freewill acceptance of this grace 3. Then the right application [use of] this gift by us. 4. The degree of RIGHT Wisdom and Understanding that God permits each of us to possess. [These are gifts of grace that can and ought to be prayed for.]

Man can be assured of this because of what else Christ did, accomplished and intends for the salvation of His humanity. In an absolute sense there is a actual need for the Commandments, for the Seven Sacraments, for the Catholic Priesthood and for the Catholic Church and what she teaches in fulfilling God’s command. This too is one of the CRITICAL points to understand in just why God became man.

From the time of Abram on there is a constant, unchanging and everlasting continuity of teaching from God; both Yahweh and Christ, of belief in Only One God, in acceptance and living fully the One set of Faith-beliefs that they both taught, and always under the Divine Guidance and protection of God himself, through only One Church Organization. That was true in the beginning and it remains the singular TRUTH TODAY AND FOR ALL TIME.

[Mt. 16:18*19, Mt. 18:18, Mt. 28:16-20, Luke 1:33, John 20:19-23].

Matthew 28:16-20 “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”  John 20:19-23 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Simply and candidly stated, salvation is possible ONLY through the Catholic Church, because that was and is God’s OWN PLAN. God’s OWN Will for all of humanity. If you don’t absolutely KNOW that your sins HAVE BEEN forgiven, which can only be done in the Catholic Church [because Christ personally commands it be done ONLY HIS way], then friend, you cannot know and do not know that they are forgiven and your salvation is anything BUT assured. Luke 21: 6-8 ““As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” And he said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!’ and, `The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.

Christ own Catholic Church; the only church and set of faith believes that are personally warranted by Jesus Himself [John 14:16-17, John 17:15-19] withHIS Sacraments particularly the Most Holy Eucharist, Jesus in Person, [Mt. 26, Mk.14, Lk. 22, John 6 and Paul 1st. Cor. 11]are the means, and the most likely way, to and for the GRACE that is just waiting to be used by us, as we control the flow of God’s Sacramental grace to us by our own good intensions, our faithful reception of, and our frequent use these Gifts from and OF God for the precise purpose to aid us in attaining God’s Will for us. OUR OWN SALVATION.

1Cor.2: 9 “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” “And those who love Him” are those who actually know Him, which requires know what he taught, commands, forbids and OBEY the authorities he personally has placed here to guide and teach us.

John.10: 16 “And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd”

Eph. 2:19-20 “ So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstonein whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Eph. 3: 9-10 “And to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in  God who created all things;  that through the church [singular]the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord”

Perhaps the most overlooked, and critically significant reason God became man IS so humanity could actually KNOW God personally.

To “put a face” with the voice from above, the Spirit which too is God, but is so much less accessible and “knowable” than a “human-God.” God desires, indeed the GREATEST desire of God’s heart, is that ALL humanity Know, Love, Obey and serve Him in this life, in the manner ORDAINED by our God and confirmed by our freewill choice to do so, putting aside the cost to us, focusing instead on the cost to OUR-God.

Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Matt.5: 19Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “ Matt.19: 17.… If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 

1Pet.4: 13 ” But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Phil.1: 29“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, “

Heb. 2: 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering

John.10: 16 “And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be [ONLY] one flock, one shepherd

Eph. 3: 9-10 “And to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in  God who created all things;  that through the church[singular]the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,

I pray daily for God’s Continued Blessings for each of you.

Pat

“A GOOD Examination of Conscience”


Friday, November 11, 2011

Posted by Fr Longenecker

A Good Examination of Conscience

Many Catholics only trot off to confession when they feel bad about what they’ve done. But how we feel about our sins is not necessarily an accurate indicator of the severity of the sin.

We usually feel bad about our sin with three different emotions: fear, shame and guilt. Fear is simply the fear of getting caught. “Geesh! What if somebody found out about that!!” This is a very powerful emotion, but not really the best motivation for going to confession. It might be a doozy of a feeling, but it’s self interested. You don’t mind the sin that much. You just quiver at the thought of being found out or being punished.

The second emotion is shame. This is a bit better than fear of being caught, but not much. Shame is the emotion we feel when we face what we’ve done, and that sin contradicts our nice self image. “I can’t believe I’ve done such a thing!! That’s just not me!!” Yes it is. It’s just not the ‘you’ you thought you were. Shame is also not a great motivation for confession, but it’s better than nothing. The emotion of shame is strong, but it’s really just a knock in your pride.

We often mistake fear of getting caught and shame with guilt. The three emotions can certainly be tumbled all together when we’ve done wrong and we classify that jumbled mess of emotions as ‘guilt’. But real guilt is when we acknowledge that we’ve done wrong and feel bad simply because we have done evil.

This is why a good examination of conscience is vital–because we step around all the emotions and simply ask ourselves what we’ve done objectively. This is important because, while we may feel very frightened, ashamed and guilty about some sins–they may not actually be the most serious sins. Likewise, there are other sins that we may not feel frightened, ashamed and guilty about at all which are, in fact, more serious because they are direct actions of disobedience towards God or a form of violence towards others which we do with full knowledge and full consent.

This is where the criteria for mortal sin come in. With a good examination of conscience we can see what we’ve done and ask ourselves if it is grave matter, whether we had full knowledge that it was grave matter, and if we did it anyway with full consent. If so–mortal sin–even if we don’t feel terribly guilty about it. Or, on the other hand, if not–then not a mortal sin –even if we do feel terribly guilty about it.

The other thing a priest can help us do in the confessional is discover the level of our culpability. A sin is a sin is a sin. No difficult circumstances or good intention can make a sin something other than a sin. However–it is true that circumstance and intention can lessen or increase one’s culpability for sin.

So, for example, if a teenage girl has an abortion and she really believes the doctor that it is ‘just a collection of cells’ and she really is in a terribly tight situation health wise and financially and socially, and she is desperate and ignorant–she has committed a terrible sin, but her culpability would be much less than that of the abortionist who knows exactly what he is doing and is killing for money. The circumstances and intention should never be used as an excuse or a justification for sin. However, they may lessen (or increase) the culpability and this is what one can discuss with a priest.

Finally, the good examination of conscience has some excellent benefits. It helps you to be not so nervous before confession. The more objective you are about your sins the less you will feel nervous and ashamed. You will also be able to deal with the ones you feel are the ‘biggies’ by the fact that the good examination of conscience will have revealed other sins to you which perhaps are more profound and deeper in your soul even if they are not as passionate and emotion laden as the ‘biggies’ you are so ashamed of.

Remember too that confession gives us the grace to overcome our sins. God’s help is planted down deep at the root level of our lives. His grace is planted there through confession, and as we live in grace that seed of glory grows and becomes a great tree in which all the bird-like angels of the air can come and roost.

Posted by Fr Longenecker

Mortal Sin is Mortal Combat


I am Catholic

Mortal sin is Mortal Combat

By Pat Miron

 

Allow me my friend to add another layer of understanding, rather than simply comment on the Great Theologian; Thomas Aquinas profound teaching on Mortal Sin.

There are in my opinion, two Divine mysteries that are so profound that they alone ought to supply sufficient motivation for being a Informed, and Fully Practicing Catholic. They are the “Real Presence,” Catholic Holy Communion which invites one to an intimate union with our Creator God, far more intimate and personal than even married love. For is this Blessed Sacrament we not only participate “in it“, we literally SHARE in its substance as we become One with our God. …. The Second mystery deals with the forgiveness of our sins in the manner God Himself has ordained. [And therefore the ONLY sure method]. The result when we participate humbly; repent and convert from our hearts, ,further supported by our future actions is “Known forgiveness of our sins.” No greater source of true-inner-peace and inexpressible joy is known to humanity.

Luke.15: 7“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

The past few hundred years has seen the introduction by mortal men, various subtle “shortcuts,“ that are

deceitful, devious, duplicitous, underhanded, unreliable, untrustworthy, and motivated by a need for expediency driven by [radio, then television broadcast time restrictions]. Theologies like the “Sinners Prayer,“ and teaching that one need only “Know Christ” to be saved; that once one “is saved” [OSAS] one can [will /does] no longer sin is further lead by selling a pleasing hoax to human understanding, while trying to  alter a complex and profound Divine teaching. Likely well motivated; but nevertheless a Grave endangering of Souls, anything different than what God himself clearly commands is a very high risk belief. These are myths, a hoax, perpetrated on gullible innocent children of God. Another motive is “an easier, less painful, less humiliating way,” necessarily quicker, and facilitating the “easy-sell” on Broadcast media as an “quick-fix” alterative to Catholic Teachings.

Any informed discussion about sin will evolve around mans personal choices, mans own freewill-decisions. It would be a good idea to frame our discussion with a few bible passages, to insure the understanding that what we share is of Devine, not human origin. The background for what we Catholics understand and teach, believe and practice comes from both Sacred Tradition of the Old Testament, and Revelation by the teachings of Christ Himself in the new perfected Covenant in Christ own Blood of the New Testament. It is highly significant that Christ Passion and the shedding of His Blood, share in both of these mysterious, and powerful Sacraments, and that God could have chosen other ways to accomplish these task.

Sin can only exist because of 1.

The manner in which we emulate our God. Possessing too a mind, intellect and a FREEWILL that are permanently attached to our Souls. without which sin would not be possible. 2. Sin requires always and every time the freewill consent of man. Even when prodded by this or that circumstance or condition, which God has grated to Satan to test us; sin always is a personal choice we must make.

Sin can be defined

as: “Saying NO! to God.” Logic conforms to the reality of this offence being either 1. Lesser [Venial sins] or 2. Greater [Mortal sins]. Because God is “All Good things Perfected,”  God’s response must be in relation  and proportion to the offense, as JUDGED by God’s, not mans standard.

The GREATEST failing of humanity,

beginning with Adam and Eve and all humanity since is not being able to comprehend how deeply God abhors all sin. Sin attacks the very grain of Gods goodness, mercy and love. And what makes it even worse; it is as already stated, our freewill choice. It is a direct affront to God’s goodness, fairness and justice.

The origin of sin begin with Satan. God’s first creation in “his own image” was Angels who possess to a far greater degree than does humanity; a more nearly perfect intellect, mind, and freewill. Having a level of right understanding that we shall never possess in this mortal life. Both Angels and Adam and Eve lived a “perfect” existence lacking ONLY One Thing. NOT actually being God. Not simply being LIKE God; but actually being God. Driven by pride which is now Satan’s KEY to the lock on our souls, and further accessed through our emotions; Satan has enormous, unimagined powers of influence granted by God in order to test us. Facilitated even more by a ruthless lack of moral values, and completely without scruples, Satan is ALWAYS on “the attack.” . God seeks “perfect love” returned to Him, in response to the perfect love that He offers to us. The fact that we can and therefore MUST freely choose to love or to hate God, is what adds value nearing perfection to our right choice.

1John.1 Verses 8 to 10

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

1John.5 Verses 16 to 1

“If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sinbut there is [also] sin which is not mortal.”

John.20 Verses 20 to 23

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”

Heb.5 Verses 1 to 6 “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.”   John.15: 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

Lev.19:22“And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed; and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.”

Let me be clear from the start. “Only God can and Only God does forgive our sins

.Acts.4: 12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Luke.11: 4“and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.” [The Lord’s Prayer.]

Acts.2: 38“And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Exod.10: 17“Now therefore, forgive my sin, I pray you, only this once, and entreat the LORD your God only to remove this death from me.”

Matt.9: 2, 5-6  “And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he then said to the paralytic — “Rise, take up your bed and go home.”

Matt.26: 28“for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark.1: 4“John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

Let’s then resolve the issue of “WHY” forgiveness of sis in in an absolute sense necessary IF one is to attain the Eternal Bliss of heaven.

Matt. 17:19

“ ….. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”

Matt.5: 29-30 [Jesus Himself taught] If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” [Not literal BUT conveying God’s absolute abhorrence of sin.]

Rev.2: 23“and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches [speaking here of regions, not different faiths] shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

The absolutely necessary forgiveness of ALL of our sins is predicated on the principles of God’s fairness and justice as well as the scientific principle that “all actions cause a like reaction.” Therefore “good” begets good, and evil begets “evil.” It is a profound truth that God cannot choose to permit evil without imposing just consequences. Such is the Nature of a Perfect God.

Rev. 21: 27 “But nothing unclean shall enter it, [Heaven] nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Mt. 5: 26truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny. Matt.5: 48“You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Nature of Sin

Devine Justice demands that each sin be judged by God upon it effects and consequences to our souls, to our relationship with God and to those who are effected by our sins. For sin is very seldom a private matter, not effecting others. Therefore God judges sins as either “lesser” [venial], or “greater” [Mortal] in assigning merit of consequences to them.  It is important to know that nothing remains hidden from God. God reads our minds and our hearts, and then factors in our degree of intent to harm, as well as the natural effects of our actions on all. …. Every sin has TWO separate types of consequences; two separate“ natures.” The first we might term the “apparent” [that which can be known], and the second; the “hidden,” but no less real. BOTH have there own separate consequences, and BOTH contribute to the imperfect condition of our souls, so both MUST be repaid in full if one is to attain heaven.

Mark.3: 28 -29  “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” So the only unforgivable sin is “denial” of God.

Venial sins:

These are sins most often of impulse or emotion. There intent is not “harm to others” but they may inadvertently have such an effect. Venial sins need not, in an absolute sense “have to be confessed in the sacrament of Confession” to be forgiven. One can appeal directly to God and at Mass we all join in a public “Act of Contrition” that through the mercy of God and the graces offered at Mass; remit all venial sins. [This is essential so that when we receive our God in Holy Communion, our souls are completely without sin. [Holy Communion is NEVER to be participated in when not in the state of grace caused by unconfessed, and unforgiven Mortal sin.] Even these “lesser” sins can have long term, even lasting effects on our souls if they become habitual, and go uncurbed. They can lead us to more serious sins if we just accept them as insignificant.

Mortal sins:

As the name itself implies. “Mortal” means “death.” This death is spiritual in nature and so severe that it severs [for a time] our personal relationship with our God. It dramatically reduces the flow of grace to our souls and numbs our conscience when repeated

All Mortal sins must be confessed in the Sacrament of Confession. Relating and explaining the circumstances [relevant to the degree of guilt], the number of times committed and any other information that relates to the seriousness of the offense, such as others [not by name] who were hurt by the action.

Mortal sin too falls into two categories. Sins that are “conditional” meaning that the circumstances surrounding the issue cause them to be “Mortal sins” and “intrinsic evil” that are always and every time, under every condition and reason, because of there obvious severity, classified as Mortal sins. These sinful acts are, or should be known by everyone, as being serious offences against what is morally“right.”

Jer.31:33“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Heb.10: 16“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds.”

Examples of “intrinsic evils.” …. Intentional, premeditated murder, abortion, all-support of those in favor of abortion, slander that ruins a reputation [even if true], infidelity in marriage, pre-material sex, missing by intent Sunday or Holy day Mass, contraception, extreme acts of lack of charity. And this is by no means the entire list of these evils.

Conditional Mortal sin

is less clear. There are three conditions that must be met in order for a “conditional Mortal sin” to exist. 1. Serious matter 2. Pre-knowledge that it is a serious matter 3. Then a desire to do “it” anyway. The “10 Commandments” are not “only ten sins”, they are categories of possible sins.

Perhaps a couple of illustrations will help make it more clear?

I steal $10.00 from a truly needy person. …. I pad my expense voucher to the multi-million dollar company I work for by the same $10.00. Both are sinful acts. Because in the first instance I am taking from true need, but in the second; from surplus want; the degree of culpability [degree of guilt incurred] on my part makes the first action a “serious” matter and a possible Mortal sin [if the other two conditions are also met], while in the second case; because of the circumstances, the necessary condition of “serious matter” does not apply. KNOW that in BOTH cases real and actual repayment will be required.

Serious Matter

The guideline to be used is “would a majority of moral and like-mind persons consider this particular act to be “serious matter?” This assumes that these people have a properly informed conscience. So if we were to relate the above circumstances to 100 people; if more than half would agree that in the first case it is serious matter and in the second case that it is not. That is what we would use. If SINCERE / honest doubts remain, knowing that God reads both our minds and our hearts, to the validity of  “serious matter” one should 1. ASSUME that it is NOT serious matter. 2. DISCUSS it with your Confessor in your next confession. 3. Make an exerted effort to avoid repeating this action until you have the opportunity to gain informed counsel.

Pre-knowledge of serious matter

In order for an act to become a Mortal Sin, one must be fully aware that the act being contemplated is going to be a mortal sin BEFORE it is committed.

Desire to commit the Mortal sin

For a Mortal sin to be “committed” it is sufficient that freewill desire be present. If for some reason one is unable to fulfill this sinful desire; it is still a Mortal Sin. Desire to commit is seen by God as having actually accomplished the act.

Payback of the “real things” and Reparation for our sins

So now we have a debt that we owe to both society, and to God. Payment is demanded and expected. But how is it accomplished?

The Confessor priest might impose specific things beyond the “normal penance” [usually in the form of specified prayers, but can be something else] that we must accomplish in order for the forgiveness granted to actually take effect. Perhaps a donation to a charity, or performing certain acts of charity. Perhaps asking for forgiveness from the parties we have hurt [this is seldom a requirement, but a possibility]. It can be what ever the priest feels is warranted, appropriate, and beneficial to our soul and that we are actually able to accomplish.

Reparation

of The Hidden [latent] effects of sin

As indicated above all sins, because sin has a public aspect to it, have in addition to the “real payback” required [in the examples above the $10.00], we must make “whole or complete” the wrongs we have caused, and repair as much as possible the harmful effects we have inflicted. Many times this is neither simply accomplished or even physically possible. How does one restore life for example, or a ruined reputation, or a broken marriage caused by infidelity, or even the padded $10.00?  These wrongs too must be repaid. We see here that even after our sins have been confessed and forgiven; there remains the “lingering effects of our sin which continue to exist.” WHY? Because in a sense all sins are public, in that they have the potential to effect others, besides the one [in this case from whom the money was taken from]. Perhaps it took food from a family? Perhaps your discovered and you gave scandal? Perhaps it effects your families reputation? Perhaps your example causes someone else to follow your example? The possibilities for others to be effected are many.

The result is that these “lingering effects” too must be “paid for and repaired” before we can be Perfected, and qualify for heaven. How might this be accomplished? God and His One Catholic Church give us multiple ways to make amends. Here is a partial list:

Acts of charity

Daily Mass

Supporting the church either with money and or your God Given talents and time

Good works [like praying for others]

Adoration and Devine Worship

Indulgences [which is a separate topic]

The Sacrament of the “Last Rites.” [Has same effects a does the sacrament of Baptism.]

And if all of these fail to make us Perfect while still on earth; then there is Purgatory; a place of GREAT suffering; and GREAT HOPE, knowing that once we have been perfected; we too will access heaven and meet God “Face to Face.”

Forgiveness of Mortal sin require The sacrament of Confession [John 20;23 above]. This is the norm and the ordinary means that God demands. It requires 1. Humility 2. Contrition 3. Conversion of heart and a Catholic priest. There does exist an “extraordinary form” but that, because it is rare, too is a separate issue.

I do not wish in the present teaching to cover in detail the role of the priest and the sacrament of reconciliation itself. But Know that the priest does have a necessary and essential role, and that it REMAINS God who actually forgives us our sin. The use of priest is carried over from Old Testament times, dating back at least as far as Moses. The role is now expanded as are the responsibilities of the New Testament priesthood in total.

Humility

is the most necessary of all the virtues as it encompasses charity, faith and hope. Because “pride is Satan’s key to the lock to our souls; humility is the protector of our souls and our entire spiritual wellbeing. .

Contrition

is TRUE heart felt; life changing sorrow for having offended God. It is also sincere sorrow for inflicting injury on a brother or sister in Christ. One of the primary task of the priest is to ascertain the presence of “true contrition” within the penitent, before granting absolution.

Conversion of heart. 

Contrition [sorrow] to be “true” requires a sincere effort and desire to alter how we actually life our lives. “Avoiding the near occasion of sin” becomes a serious issue and is not to be taken lightly. We are to avoid those things, people and places that MIGHT tempt us beyond our willingness to deny them. We are to take responsibility for out thoughts, our words and our deeds.

The final point I wish to share is that sin itself can take TWO distinct forms.

We can sin both Mortally and in lesser ways in what we choose to do AND WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO, BUT FAIL TO ACCOMPLISH.  Sins of “commission” and sins of “OMISSION” are of equal guilt. Lack of charity is a prime example.

Deut.30: 19“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,

Sir.15: 17“Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him.”

Oh my God I am truly sorry for having offended thee, who are All Good, and deserving of ALL of my love. I FIRMLY resolve with the help of your grace, to Confess ALL of my sins; to fulfill the penance given to me, and to avoid the near occasion of sin in my life. AMEN!

May God continue to Guide, lead, protect and Bless you,

Pat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father John A. …


Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives

Sacraments

Examination of Conscience

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

If there is one part of the spiritual life that St. Ignatius stressed, it was the daily – and even twice daily – examination of conscience.

As we read the Spiritual Exercises, we may be overwhelmed by the minute detail of St. Ignatius’ treatment of what he calls the particular examination of conscience. At the same time, he is careful to provide, “Some Notes on Scruples.”

It is very important, therefore, that we form a clear and correct conscience. This means that we cultivate a sensitive judgment which is alert to the least offense against the Divine will and, at the same time, protect ourselves against the wiles of the evil spirit. “The enemy,” says St. Ignatius, “considers carefully whether one has a lax or a delicate conscience. If one has a delicate conscience, the evil one seeks to make it excessively sensitive in order to disturb and upset it more easily. Thus, if he sees that one will not consent to mortal sin or venial sin, or even to the appearance of deliberate sin, since he cannot cause him to fall in a matter that appears sinful, he strives to make the soul judge that there is a sin, for example in a word or passing thought, where there is no sin” (Spiritual Exercises, 349).

It is valuable to reflect on this tactic of the evil spirit before we offer some practical norms for making our daily examination of conscience. Why? Because otherwise, we are liable to overlook the importance of a daily inventory of our moral conduct for fear of becoming scrupulous.

There is such a thing as growing in prudent sensitivity of conscience, without becoming a victim of the “enemy” as St. Ignatius calls him.

We may set this down as a general principle, for those who are sincerely striving to do the will of God:

It is characteristic of God and His angels, when they act upon the soul, to give true happiness and spiritual joy and to banish all the sadness and disturbances which are caused by the enemy.

It is characteristic of the evil one to fight against such happiness and consolation by proposing fallacious reasonings, subtleties, and continual deceptions (Rules for Discernment of Spirits, II, 1).

What are we to conclude from this? That the more zealous we are in trying to please God, the more He will give us a deep interior peace of soul. We should suspect as a temptation from the evil one, when we find ourselves worried or anxious or disturbed, no matter how pious the source of the worry or anxiety may be.

The key to applying this principle is that, before God, I honestly want to do His will even though through weakness, I may fail to live up to my resolutions.

One basic virtue on which we should daily examine ourselves is peace of soul. We should ask ourselves, “Have I given in to worry or anxiety?” “Have I allowed myself to get discouraged?” A good practice is to pronounce the name, “Jesus,” when we find ourselves getting despondent, or say some short aspiration like, “My Jesus, I trust in you,” whenever we become dejected over something.

Particular Examen on the Theological Virtues

Before applying the particular examen to my own spiritual life, it is well to first ask myself, “What are the virtues that I know from experience I most need to develop?”

The reason why this question should first be answered is that no two of us are equally prone to commit the same kind of sins. Nor are we personally always tempted in the same direction. There is wisdom in first knowing enough about myself, to be able to get attention in my spiritual life and concentrating on what is not so necessary for me at this time in my service of God.

Moreover, it would be a mistake to suppose that by attending to my moral failings, I am being “negative” in my pursuit of holiness.

On the contrary. In God’s providence, He allows us to fail in those areas in which He especially wants us to grow in virtue.

We can fail in the practice of these virtues either by commission, omission, or by tepidity, in not acting as generously as we might in responding to the grace we have received from God.

Faith

Do I make an honest effort to grow in the virtue of faith by daily mental prayer on the mysteries of the faith as revealed in the life of Jesus Christ?

Do I make at least a short act of faith every day?

Do I pray daily for an increase of faith?

Do I ever tempt God by relying on my own strength to cope with the trials in my life?

Do I unnecessarily read or listen to those who oppose or belittle what I know are truths of my Catholic faith?

What have I done today to externally profess my faith?

Have I allowed human respect to keep me from giving expression to my faith?

Do I make a serious effort to resolve difficulties that may arise about my faith?

Do I ever defend my faith, prudently and charitably, when someone says something contrary to what I know is to be believed?

Have I helped someone overcome a difficulty against the faith?

Hope

Do I immediately say a short prayer when I find myself getting discouraged?

Do I daily say a short act of hope?

Do I dwell on my worries instead of dismissing them from my mind?

Do I fail in the virtue of hope by my attachment to the things of this world?

Do I try to see God’s providence in everything that “happens” in my life?

Do I try to see everything from the viewpoint of eternity?

Am I confident that, with God’s grace, I will be saved?

Do I allow myself to worry about my past life and thus weaken my hope in God’s mercy?

Do I try to combine every fully deliberate action with at least a momentary prayer for divine help?

How often today have I complained, even internally?

Charity

Have I told God today that I love Him?

Do I tell Jesus that I love Him with my whole heart?

Do I take the occasion to tell God that I love Him whenever I experience something I naturally dislike?

Have I capitalized on the difficulties today to tell God that I love Him just because He sent me the trial or misunderstanding?

Do I see God’s love for me in allowing me to prove my love for Him in the crosses He sent me today?

Have I seen God’s grace to prove my love for Him in every person whom I met today?

Have I failed in charity by speaking unkindly about others?

Have I dwelt on what I considered someone’s unkindness toward me today?

Is there someone that I consciously avoid because I dislike the person?

Did I try to carry on a conversation today with someone who is difficult to talk to?

Have I been stubborn in asserting my own will?

How thoughtful have I been today in doing some small favor for someone?

Have I allowed my mood to prevent me from being thoughtful of others today?

Am I given to dwelling on other people’s weaknesses or faults?

Have I been cheerful today in my dealings with others?

Do I control my uncharitable thoughts as soon as they arise in my mind?

Did I pray for others today?

Have I written any letters today?

Have I controlled my emotions when someone irritated me?

Have I performed any sacrifice today for someone?

Excerpt from Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues by Alphonsus Rodriguez, translated by Joseph Rickaby (Loyola University Press, 1929).

It Is a Very Helpful That One Does Penance in Association with The Particular Examination of Conscience

Our Father St. Ignatius was not satisfied with sorrow and repent­ance and inward purposes, but we read in his Life that, for the better composing of the end desired, he recom­mended the addition of some penance to the particular examination of conscience, marking out for ourselves a certain penalty to exact of ourselves every time we fall into the fault which is the matter of our particular examen. Fra Louis of Gran­ada gives instances of some servants of God whom he knew, one of whom, when he found at his night examen that he had exceeded in some ill-spoken word, would bite his tongue in penance for the same; and another would take a disci­pline for this and any other defect he fell into.

It is said of the holy Abbot Agatho that for three years he carried a pebble in his mouth to gain the virtue of silence. As we here wear a haircloth to mortify the flesh and to serve us as a caller to chastity, so this saint carried a pebble below his tongue that it might be, as it were, his haircloth and serve him as a reminder and caller not to speak more than necessary. And of our blessed Father Ignatius, we read that at the beginning of his conversion he was much tempted to laughter and that he overcame the temptation by free use of the discipline, giving himself as many strokes each night as there were times that he had laughed during the day, however slight the laugh had been. And it is usually a great help, this adding of some penance to the examen, for with the penance the soul feels chastened and afraid to commit that fault another time. The spur makes the beast go, however lazy it be. Such an aid is the spur that no sooner does the creature feel that there is one there, though it does not prick it, than it makes it go. If every time that a man broke silence he had to take a pub­lic discipline or dine on bread and water for three days, which was the penance of old, marked in the Rules for those who broke silence, of a surety it would greatly restrain us from talking. Besides this, and the merit and satisfaction there is in it, there is another very great advantage, which is that God our Lord, seeing the penance wherewith a man chastises and afflicts himself, is wont to hear his petition and desire. And this is one of the effects of penance and exterior mortification that the saints set down, and our holy Father sets it down in the Book of the Exercises. The angel said to Daniel: From the first day that thou didst set thy heart to understand, and to afflict thyself in the sight of thy God, thy prayer was heard (Dan. x. 12). The Prophet Daniel added to his prayer fasting and mortification of the flesh, and so obtained the deliverance of his people and moved God to reveal to him great mysteries and do him other very particular favors. And we see that in the Church of God this means has always been very commonly used to obtain and gain the favor of God in distresses and necessities.

When an infant asks of its mother the breast that it needs, and asks it only by expressing its desire by signs, the mother often refuses or puts it off; but when it asks by weeping and wailing, the mother cannot refrain from giving it at once. So when a man asks of God the virtue of humil­ity, of patience, of chastity, or the victory over some temp­tation, or any like thing, and asks only by desire and word, oftentimes he does not gain what he asks, or is long put off; but when to prayer we join penance and mortification of the flesh and afflict ourselves before God, then we gain our petition much better, with greater certainty, and in shorter time. God has a great love of men and, seeing them putting themselves to pain and affliction to gain what they ask, He is moved to compassion and uses greater mercy with them. We read in Holy Writ that the patriarch Joseph could not contain himself when he saw the affliction and tears of his brethren, but discovered himself to them and made them partakers of all his goods: Joseph could no longer contain himself, and said to his brethren, I am Joseph (Gen. xlv. 3). What will not He do, Who loves us more than Joseph and is our Brother, when He sees our affliction and grief? In every way this means will avail us much.

This agrees very well with what Cassian says, treating of the care and diligence with which we should proceed in the warfare and particular examen, If the struggle and particular examen ought to be, as we have said, on that point of which we have most need; if it ought to serve to uproot that passion or inclination which reigns more in us than others, which more particularly upsets us and puts us in greater dangers and makes us fall into most faults; if it be to overcome that vice, the overcoming of which will carry victory over all the rest, and the gaining of that vir­tue with which we shall have gained all other virtues, with how much solicitude and diligence will it be reasonable for us to act in a matter of so much importance to us! Do you know with how much ? Cassian tells us: “Against this pre­dominant passion let him employ his man’s force, devoting all his care and solicitude to attacking and watching it; against it let him direct the daily arrows of his fasts; against it let him heave every moment the sighs of his heart and hurl the darts of his groans; against it be the labors of his watchings and the meditation of his heart; against it let him ceaselessly pour out before God the wailings of his prayers, begging Him especially and continually to put an end to the assaults of that vice.”

We must not rest content with taking this care about our examen alone, but also about our meditation; and that not only in the time set aside for meditation, but frequently in the day we must raise our heart to God with ejaculatory prayers and sighs and groans of the heart: “Lord, humility; Lord, chastity; Lord, patience.” For this we should often visit the Blessed Sacrament, asking with much earnestness of the Lord to give us grace to gain a thing so important to us; we must have recourse to our Lady and the saints to be our intercessors. To this end we must direct our fasts, haircloths, disciplines, and subjoin certain devotions and offer certain particular mortifications. If in this man­ner and with this care and diligence we went to work with our particular examen, we should quickly feel the better for it because the Lord would see our affliction and hear our prayer and fulfil the desire of our heart. And all this must be well observed to aid us also therewith in other tempta­tions and grave needs that occur. St. Bonaventure says that our Lady told St. Elizabeth of Hungary that no spir­itual grace-comes to the soul, regularly speaking, otherwise than by prayer and afflictions of the body.

 

How to Divide a Good Catholic Particular Examination of Conscience According to the Parts and Degrees of Virtues

by admin on August 18, 2010

Of Humility

I. To utter no words that may redound to my own praise and reputation.

II. Not to take pleasure in hearing myself praised and well spoken of, but rather thence to take occasion to hum­ble and confound myself more, seeing that I am not such as others think or such as I ought to be. To this may be added rejoicing when another is praised and spoken well of. And when I feel any resentment at this, or any movement of envy, to note it for a fault; as also when I take any vain complacency or satisfaction at others’ speaking well of me.

III. Never to act from human respect or to gain the good opinion of men or to be seen and esteemed by men, but purely for God.

IV. Never to excuse myself, much less throw the blame on others, whether in outward word or in my own mind.

V. To cut off and lop away at once all vain, arrogant, and proud thoughts that occur to me from things that touch my honor and reputation.

VI. To take all others for my betters, not speculatively merely, but practically and in act, behaving to all with that humility and respect which I show to superiors.

VII. To take well the occasions of humility that come in my way. In this I should go on growing and advanc­ing by these three steps: (1) taking such occasions patient­ly; (2) taking them readily and promptly; (3) taking them cheerfully and with joy. And I must not stop until I come to be glad and rejoice in being disparaged and held in small account, to resemble and imitate Christ our Redeemer, Who chose to be disparaged and held in small account for me.

VIII. In this matter and in others like it the particular examination of conscience may be applied to making acts and doing practices of humility or of any other virtue on which the particular examination of conscience is made. These acts and practices may be either interior or exterior. We should rouse ourselves to these acts so many times in the morning and so many times in the afternoon. We should begin with fewer and gradually add more until the habit or custom is gained of this particu­lar virtue we are in quest of.

Of Brotherly Love

I. To shun detraction or any mention of the fault of another, even though it be slight and public. Not to pull to pieces his doings or show any sign of undervaluing him either in his presence or in his absence, but try to let it be that for anything that proceeds from my mouth all men are good, honorable, and estimable.

II. Never to tell another, “Jack says so-and-so of you,” when the matter is such as might cause annoyance, however small it may be; for this were to sow discord and tares among brethren.

III. Not to utter sarcastic words or harsh and peev­ish words that might give pain to another. Not to be obstinate in maintaining a point, nor contradict another, nor rebuke him, unless you have charge of him.

IV. To treat all with love and charity and show it in act, trying to meet others’ wants, assist and give them satisfaction so far as you can. This especially when you are in an office that obliges you to meet people’s wants; to this you should give great attention, and whatever you cannot do in deed, make it up by a gracious manner and kind answers and words.

V. To avoid any aversion for another and still more to avoid showing it, as it would be by refusing to speak to him for some displeasure you had conceived against him, or by refusing to meet his need when you might, or by giving any other sign that you have a grudge against him. VI. Not to behave to any particular person as you would not behave to anyone else; to avoid familiarities and particular friendships that give offense.

VII. Not to pass judgment on anyone, but rather try to excuse your neighbor’s faults, in your own thoughts and in company having a high opinion of all.

Of Mortification

I. To mortify myself in things and occasions that offer without my going to seek them, whether they come immediately from God or come by means of superiors or by means of neighbors and brethren or in any other way, trying to bear them well and profit by them.

II. To mortify myself and overcome myself in every­thing that is likely to hinder me from keeping my rules and doing my ordinary and daily duties well, spiritual as well as external; because all the faults that we commit therein come of our not overcoming and mortifying ourselves in a matter which takes some trouble, or of not abstaining from some pleasure and gratification.

III. To mortify myself in conducting myself with the modesty that is to be expected of a religious, especially as regards the eyes and tongue, when there might be any fault therein.

IV. To mortify myself in sundry things that I might lawfully do, as by not leaving my room, by not seeing some curious sight, by not asking about or seeking to know what is no affair of mine, by not saying things that I have a mind to say, and the like. I am to apply the examination of conscience to making these acts of mortification, so many in the morning and so many in the afternoon, beginning with fewer and gradually adding more, for the practice of these voluntary mortifications, though it be in little things, is very prof­itable.

V. To mortify myself even in things that I am obliged to do, in this way: When I go to meals, to study, to lecture, to preach, or any other duty that I have a liking for, morti­fy first my appetite and will, saying in my heart: “I have no mind to do this, O Lord, for my own satisfaction, but because Thou willest it.”

Of Abstinence or Gluttony

I. Not to eat anything before or after the common hour nor away from the refectory.

II. To be content with what is given to the commun­ity, not seeking other dishes nor the same dishes differently dressed, not accepting special food except for some known necessity.

III. In these common things not to exceed the rule of temperance in point of quantity.

IV. Not to eat with great eagerness nor very hur­riedly, but with modesty and decency, not letting appetite run away with me.

V. Never to speak of food, much less grumble or com­plain about it.

VI. To cut short and stop all thoughts of gluttony.

Of Patience

I.

Not to give any outward sign of impatience, but rather to show great tranquility in word and action and in the cast of my countenance, repressing all impulses and emotions to the contrary.

II. Not to give place and entry into my heart for any perturbation or resentment or indignation or sadness; much less any desire of revenge, though it be in a matter quite trifling.

III. To take all events and occasions that occur as sent by the hand of God for my good and profit, in whatever manner or by whatever means or channel they come.

IV. To go on exercising myself and bringing myself to act in this matter, first, by taking all things as they come with patience; secondly, with promptitude and readi­ness; thirdly, with delight and joy, as being the will of God.

Of Obedience

I. To be exact in outward obedience, leaving the let­ter of the alphabet just begun; meeting also the significa­tion of the will of the superior without waiting for an express command.

II. To obey in will and heart, having one and the same wish and will as the superior.

III. To obey also with the understanding and judg­ment, adopting the same view and sentiment as the supe­rior, not giving place to any judgments or reasoning’s to the contrary.

IV. To take the voice of the superior and the sound of the bell as the voice of God, and obey the superior, who­ever he be, as Christ our Lord, and the same for subor­dinate officials.

V. To follow blind obedience, that is, obedience with­out inquiry or examination or any seeking of reasons for the why and wherefore, it being reason enough for me that it is obedience and the command of the superior.

VI. To go on to acts of the will, exciting myself to believe, when I obey, that I am therein doing the will of God, and make that all my joy and satisfaction.

Of Poverty

I. Not to give or receive from another, either within or without the house, anything without permission

II. Not to borrow or take anything from the house or the room of another without leave.

III. Not to keep anything superfluous, stripping myself of all that is not necessary to me, as well in books and the furniture of my room as in dress and food and everything else.

IV. Even in the necessary things of which I have the use, I must make a point of showing myself a poor man, because such I am; contriving that my things be the poor­est, the plainest, and of least value. Thus, in my room, in

my dress, in my food, and in all the rest, the virtue of pov­erty is ever to shine out and I am to let it be seen that I am a poor man; desiring and rejoicing that the worst of the house be ever for me for my greater abnegation and spiritual profit.

V. To rejoice that even in necessary things something is wanting to me, because this is to be a true and perfect poor man in spirit and an imitator of Christ our Redeemer, Who, being so rich and powerful (II Cor. viii. 9), made Himself poor for love of us. So do I wish to feel want even of necessary things, suffering hunger, thirst, cold, weariness, and nakedness.

Of Chastity

I. To practice modesty of the eyes, not looking at persons or things that may be an incentive to temptation.

II. Not to utter or listen to words touching on this matter or that may awaken movements or evil thoughts, nor read such like things. (Since this was written in the 1600’s, I’ll add this would include music, television programs and movies, etc.)

III. To give no place to any thought bearing on this matter, though it be very remotely, casting them off with great diligence and promptness from the very beginning.

IV. Not to touch another person on his hands, and much less on his face or head, nor allow myself to be touched.

V. To observe with myself much decency and mod­esty, not looking at myself, uncovering or touching myself without absolute necessity.

VI. To have no particular friendships, neither giving nor receiving little presents or things to eat. And with per­sons who appeal to me and with whom I feel this affection and inclination, to go with great reserve, honestly shunning their intimacy and conversation, which is usually the only thing to be done in such cases.

Of Doing Ordinary Actions Well

I. Not to fail any day to do my spiritual duties com­pletely, giving them the full time allotted to them; and when at that time there is some unavoidable occupation to claim me, to make it up at another time.

II. To make my meditation and my general and parti­cular examens well, observing the additions and dwelling in my examens on sorrow and confusion for faults and pur­pose of amendment, rather than on examining how often I have fallen, for in this is the force and fruit of the examens, and for want of this some usually profit little thereby.

III. To do any other spiritual duties well, as mass, office, spiritual reading, and penances, as well public as private, taking care to gather from them the end and fruit for which they are severally ordained, not doing them out of custom, perfunctorily, and for form’s sake.

IV. To do my office and discharge my ministries well, doing all that I can and all that rests with me that they may go well, as one who does things for God and in pres­ence of God.

V. Not to commit any deliberate fault.

VI. To make great account of little things.

VII. And because my progress and perfection turns on doing well and perfectly these ordinary duties that we do every day, I mean to be very careful from time to time, when I feel myself going slack upon this point, to make my particular examen on the same for some days, to renew myself and rehabilitate myself in doing them well.

Of Doing All Things Purely for God

I. Not to do anything for any human respect or to be seen and esteemed by men or for my own comfort or inter­est or simply to my own taste or satisfaction.

II. To do all my actions purely for God, accustoming myself to make actual reference of them all to God: first, in the morning when I awake; secondly, at the beginning of each action; thirdly, also during the action itself, often in it raising my heart to God, saying: “For Thee, O Lord, I do this, for Thy glory and because Thou so wiliest it.”

 

III. To go on applying this particular examen and ex­citing myself to the same so many times in the morning, so many times in the afternoon, beginning with fewer and then adding more, until I come to gain a habit and custom of very frequently in my work raising my heart to God, and my eyes do not turn therein to regard anything but His Divine Majesty.

IV. I am not to stop in this examen and exercise until I come to do all my actions as one serving God and not men; and until I come to do them in such manner as to be always actually loving God in them, rejoicing that I am there doing His will, and all my joy and satisfaction is in that, so that, when I am at work, I seem to be rather lov­ing than working.

V. This must be the presence of God in which I endeavor to walk, and the continual prayer which I seek to carry on; since it will be very good and very advantageous for my soul and will enable me to do things right down well and in perfection.

Of Conformity to the Will of God

I. To take all things and all occasions that offer, whether great or small, in whatsoever way and manner they come, as coming from the hand of God, Who sends them with the affection of a father for my greater good and profit; conforming myself therein to His most holy and divine will as if I saw Christ Himself saying to me: “Son, I wish that just now thou shouldst do or suffer this.”

II. To contrive to go on growing and mounting in this conformity to the will of God in all things by these three steps: (1) to receive things with patience: (2) with readi­ness and ease: (3) with joy and gladness, this being the will and good pleasure of God.

III. I must not stop in this examination of conscience and exercise until I find in myself a sensible satisfaction and joy that the

Lord’s will is fulfilled in me, though it be with afflictions, contumelies, and pains, and until all my joy arid satisfac­tion is the will and satisfaction of God.

IV. Never to omit doing a thing that I take to be the will of God and His greater glory and service, endeavoring therein to imitate Christ our Redeemer, Who said: I ever do that which is most pleasing to my Eternal Father (John viii. 29).

V. To walk in this exercise is a very good way to walk in the presence of God and in continual prayer, and very profitable.

VI. The examen on mortification that we have set down above may be better applied by way of conformity to the will of God, taking all events and occurrences as coming from the hand of God in the manner that has been said; and in this way it will be easier and of a better relish and more profitable, since it will be an exercise of the love of God.

It must be observed that we do not mean hereby to say that the particular examen is to be made in the order in which the virtues are here set down, or by the degrees or parts that are assigned under each virtue. The rule to be observed here is that each one should choose the virtue of which he stands most in need and begin therein by that part or degree which is now necessary for him; and when he has done with that, he should proceed to select out of the rest what is most proper for him until he comes to the perfection of that virtue by the grace of the Lord.

Excerpt from Practice of Perfection and Christian Virtues by Alphonsus Rodriguez, translated by Joseph Rickaby (Loyola University Press, 1929).