Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sin and Forgiveness

P ope Francis a few weeks ago restated something that Pope Pius XII said a number of years ago. Pope Pius had said that the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin. In the 1970's, psychiatrist Karl Meninger, in his book Whatever Became of Sin, reported that, as the lines at the confessionals decreased, the lines to the psychiatrists' couches increased. Pope Francis has the same insight; he observes that we can fall into the error of calling our bad deeds, thoughts and words "problems" and not sins. This is related to people ignoring the kingdom of God. We think that we can solve our own problems without God. The Holy Father said:
The power of man in place of the glory of God! This is the daily bread. For this [reason] the everyday prayer to God ‘Your kingdom come, your kingdom grow’ [is important], because salvation does not come from our cleverness, our astuteness, in our intelligence in doing business. Salvation comes from the grace of God and from the daily training that we do with this grace in Christian life. (Homily on Jan. 31, 2014)
When we depend solely upon ourselves, our moral "problems" are not solved; they get worse. Also, there are consequences in the community. No sin is isolated unto oneself. There are adverse effects upon those around us, at least to the extant that we bring our sinful selves to others. The Church confirms this by her teaching that every sin is not only disobeying God, but also a sin against the Church which is us, the Body of Christ.

The solution to this is the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. Once we make a proper confession, God takes the confessed sins away. With a firm purpose of amendment we start fresh all over again. That "problem", that sin, is no longer weighing upon us.

Pope Francis in his address to those of the Neocatechumenal Way on Feb. 2, 2014) said: "God loves man as he is, even with his limits, with his mistakes, with his sins. For this, he sent his Son, so that he could take our sins upon himself." May we never lose sight of the kingdom of God. May we never forget his love and his continual merciful forgiveness.

Father Stanley

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