a suicidal act

Pope Saint John Paul II was a regular penitent[1] to the confessional and an fervent believer in the efficacy of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so much so that he wrote an apostolic exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia (Reconciliation and Penance.) In its introduction he speaks of the deep divisions that permeate society and identifies their root as a wound in man’s inmost self, that which we call sin.

Expulsion from the Garden

Expulsion from the Garden

In his exhortation he reminds us of the words of St. John the apostle, “If we say, ‘We are without sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, ‘We have not sinned,’ we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.[2]

This modern saintly pope further notes:

In this sense the story of the first sin in Eden and the story of Babel, in spite of notable differences in content and form, have one thing in common: In both there is an exclusion of God through direct opposition to one of his commandments, through an act of rivalry, through the mistaken pretension of being ‘like him.’ In the story of Babel the exclusion of God is presented not so much under the aspect of opposition to him as of forgetfulness and indifference toward him, as if God were of no relevance in the sphere of man’s joint projects. But in both cases the relationship to God is severed with violence. In the case of Eden there appears in all its seriousness and tragic reality that which constitutes the ultimate essence and darkness of sin: disobedience to God, to His law, to the moral norm that he has given man, inscribing it in his heart and confirming and perfecting it through revelation.

Exclusion of God, rupture with God, disobedience to God: Throughout the history of mankind this has been and is, in various forms, sin. It can go as far as a very denial of God and his existence: This is the phenomenon called atheism.

It is the disobedience of a person who, by a free act, does not acknowledge God’s sovereignty over his or her life, at least at that particular moment in which he or she transgresses God’s law.

If we are completely honest there is very little to differentiate ourselves from those ancient stories of man’s concupiscence toward sin. It is not at all difficult to observe the same attitudes and behaviors, the same sins, the same evil around us today.

“As a rupture with God, sin is an act of disobedience by a creature who rejects, at least implicitly, the very one from who he came and who sustains him in life. It is therefore a suicidal act. Since by sinning man refuses to submit to God, his internal balance is also destroyed and it is precisely within himself that contradictions and conflicts arise.”

God forgives us, but to be made clean we must first acknowledge our sinfulness and earnestly promise to sin no more.

 


[1] He readily admitted to approaching the confessional on a weekly basis, which begs the question as to what sins this saintly priest might have felt compelled to confess.
[2] 1 Jn 1:8-10.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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