I am a little embarrassed…I forgot to post a notice about what I planned to do on the blog after Easter arrived. I wanted to dive into some deeper spiritual reading and post 1-3 times weekly reflecting on what I had read or learned that week. This will be my post for Easter Week. Hopefully I will be able to post a bit more next week, seeing as it is my very last finals week of my college career, and I graduate in 6 days with my Bachelor of Science in English and Minor in Music!
The nature of these posts will probably be a bit more personal, and because I am a baby Catholic, newly converted from Protestantism, I beg in advance your forgiveness for any unintentional errors of judgment/interpretation on what I have read and learned. Please know that I do not claim to be a theologian, nor do I want to claim this title. I only want to keep growing, so any charitable corrections or reminders are heartily welcomed and please know that I will truly take them into consideration and that I appreciate them.
Also, I am not set on a ‘format’, if you will, for these posts yet. I had a format for the Sermon in a Sentence posts, but the nature of those worked well with a layout. All that to say that if I start out kind of everywhere at first, and then develop into a format, don’t be shocked.
All that being said, let’s talk about some of the things I’ve learned this week!
This morning, I listened to a sermon by St. Alphonsus de Liguori on avoiding the occasions of sin. This sermon was chock-full of heavy teaching; it was a full-course meal for the mind and soul. The primary lesson that I learned was that avoiding occasions of sin may be seen as cowardice, and may appear so even to the devout mind. However, we must think of fleeing sin as obedience and courage, rather than cowardice. Especially with sins of the flesh, and especially with impurity, we must immediately flee. We must listen to our Captain Who sees the advancing hordes of devils and, knowing they are too strong for us, orders us to retreat. “These you cannot fight. Let Me fight them for you. You must run. They will try to pursue and overtake you, and they will if you do not obey My words.” Instead of stubbornly relying on our own strength or the courageous sentiments that come with a recent conversion, we MUST flee and retreat. If God is telling us to run, it is not cowardice, but obedience. We must trust our Divine Captain Who in all circumstances knows perfectly what is best for us. When it comes to our pet sins, especially, we are too weak to fight them, and we would be fools to jump into the fray and try to fight them.
But, some may say, what if the devils find us? What if we find ourselves in a near occasion of sin through no fault of our own? St. Alphonsus tells us that God is faithful to provide the grace for us to flee, and if we cannot flee, to resist the temptation. But when we put ourselves or leave ourselves in these occasions by our own will, God sees the heart and leaves us to our evil inclinations. We cannot expect God’s mercy and grace if we go out of our way to seek these occasions out. He knows that when we do this, we do not really wish for His grace. “A hard heart shall fear evil at the last: and he that loveth danger shall perish in it” (Sirach 3:27, DRA). We must not love the danger, but must desire ardently to be delivered from it. Then God is faithful to provide us the grace we honestly wish for.
This reminds us of the constant battle and duty we face to detach ourselves from our evil passions. If we do not hate them, they will be our ruin. We must hate them because they will separate us from God if we do not turn from them. And when we love God above all else, we will find that He gives us the grace to avoid those things, once so addicting and once the rulers of our will, and to detest them for His sake, and for love of Him. Let us remain risen with Christ, risen from our sins and from the old man, and avoid those roads which might lead us back to sin.