Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Recurring sin

Do you struggle with recurring sin? Do you fall into the same sins over and over again? And not just venial sins, like gossip or telling small fibs or getting mad at someone, but mortal sins? I confess, I do. Why? As we saw yesterday it boils down to having a weak will. St. Josemaria Escriva, in his book The Way, has some encouraging words for those of us struggling with sin (which according to St. John is all of us - see 1 John 8).

The first thing we need to do, in order to move on from our sins into a holy way of life, is to stop going over our past falls in our mind. This is something I struggle with myself. I have a tendancy to replay the sins in my mind with a sense of astonishment that I actually did that. But we must learn to shut down this process. St; Josemaria tells us why, (emphasis added) "Besides, overwhelming you and crushing you under it's weight, that recollection may easily be an occasion of future temptation. Christ has forgiven you!" Indeed, he tells us to "Forget the "old man" - your former self." And he even goes as far as saying, "I forbid you to think anymore about it. Instead, bless God who has given life back to your soul."

Following this line of advice, when we sin, we ought to praise the Lord for His great mercy and for the forgiveness He won for us on the Cross. We know we don't deserve to be forgiven through our own merits, but we also know His merits are more than sufficient to blot out any sin we willingly take to Him.

Of course, taking our sins to Christ requires us to repent and to make a firm amendment to "sin no more" (cf. Jonh 8:11). We can't "game the system" and get away with sinning (nor should we want to, as sin always leads to misery, in this life and, if unrepented, eternally).

Christ's mercy is so great that, when we fall, St. Josemaria tells us,"Don't be disheartened. I have seen you struggle. Today's defeat is training for the final victory." That stands repeating, the fall you experienced today, is (if we repent) not a cause for damnation, but instead a "training for final victory".

Which enables St. Josemaria to say, 
"You've done well, even though you have fallen so low. You've done well, because you humbled yourself, because you straightened yourself out, because you filled yourself with hope - hope that brought you back again to his Love. Don't look so amazed: you've done well! You rose up from the ground. "Surge" - "arise" - cried anew the mighty voice - "et ambula" - "and walk!" Now - to work."

I pray that you will always "Surge et ambula" from your sins... and that I may as well. 

Opus Dei
St. Josemaria, pray for us sinners!

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