“Sin is committed by cleaving to changeable goods in contempt of the changeless Good.” –From “Sermon in a Sentence: A Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life; Vol. 5: St. Thomas Aquinas.”pg 82. Selected and Arranged by John P. McClernon
Sin really is kind of silly, when you think about it. This is not to make light of sin–its silliness is a fatal foolishness that will damn us if we give into it! But think–sin goes against the order of right reason. It takes away from us our greatest Good, our only Good, the ‘changeless Good’, for the sake of some ‘changeable good’, a fleeting pleasure. It is nonsensical that we should give up a changeless God, a God Who deigned to come to earth, take on human flesh, and DIE for us so that we could be with Him in eternity…all for some momentary, short-lived pleasure. The ‘treasures’ and ‘pleasures’ of this world cannot last. We cannot take them with us to the grave. Why on earth would we cleave so tightly to these things, knowing they offend God and knowing that we lose God by them? We give up eternity for one moment of pleasure. Even the whole of our lives, were they spent in this pleasure which seems so good to us at the moment, would be but a tiny, molecular speck in the grand scheme of eternity. Are we really going to exchange an eternity of bliss for an eternity of incomprehensible suffering, merely for one day, one moment, one lifetime of inordinate pleasure (which, in fact, has its own punishments here on earth)?
Yet we do. Every single day, every single moment, every second, someone, somewhere, on earth, is choosing to offend God rather than remain His friend. Someone, somewhere, is choosing hell over heaven for the sake of a little ‘fun.’ “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8, DRA). Did you catch that? God is NOT mocked. To think that millions, perhaps even billions of people simultaneously, day by day, offend God, and yet He seems silent and still…this is perhaps even more frightening than if He were to unleash His wrath. As it is, He waits. He is patient, but He is also just, and He will not be mocked. How this should deter us from any further sins! How it should make us long for the Lenten season, and to keep its spirit of penance all year long, to atone for the many wicked things that we have done, and that we and all the sinners on earth continually do! How it should make us hate sin, which separates us from our only Good, and causes so much offense to our Almighty God, Who condescended to take on our humanity and die in agony for our sins, the sins with which He is still every day bombarded!
As Ash Wednesday rapidly approaches, let us humble ourselves in the sight of God, and receive with joy, humility and contrition those ashes which signify our nothingness, knowing that in His goodness the Holy Ghost has led Holy Mother Church to give us this season of penance to atone for our sins and regain the friendship of God. Let us not despise the Church’s imposed penances, but rather embrace them readily, viewing them as most precious treasures, most valuable sufferings to offer to God with our contrition.
+Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis!+