March 15 - Mortal Sin and Redemption
Mar 14, 2019
Scripture: The Prophet Ezekiel reveals that the justice God pours out on the people, the wrath on the wicked, is unfair by human standards. He also points out that the mercy God pours out on the people, the blessings waiting for the convert, is also unfair by human standards. There is a saying that golfer's have, "It's not the drive, it's how you arrive." Regardless of whether or not you started well, ending well tends to be the more important practice. In fact, when someone has a great recovery from a bad first or second shot, they call it a "Save." How is it that God would so easily forget a life of virtue and kindness because of one grave sin committed at the end of one's life? How is it that God could forget a lifetime of wickedness and sin simply because someone changed their heart at the last minute? We see this dynamic played out in the parable of the prodigal son, where the older brother refuses to enter the party because he resented that his steadfast loyalty had never resulted in a party for him but the brother who sinned against his father gets a reward. It was precisely because the prodigal son was dead and now lives again. The older brother who was living a loyal life died in his own resentment, he did his duty, but he failed to love his own brother with the same love that the father had for the son. How could the older brother ever expect to be one with his father if he too did not rejoice in the resurrection of the lost the son? We see in Matthew's Gospel today that Jesus is really pointing to the core of it all, the Cor, the heart. If a lifetime of virtue doesn't teach the heart to love and hold on to God with everything, if it doesn't come with humility and love for others, then the reward has already been paid out. However, for the one who lives in virtue all the way through, he too will sing with the Angels when one who is lost is found again! Everything else is not the Spirit of God, and everything else is mere vanity (virtue without love).
Core Principle of Faith: The church has fallen away in some ways from its emphasis on discerning mortal sins from venial sins. What does is it matter, really, to the truly contrite heart that presents themselves to God's Divine Mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation? There are mixed feelings depending on when and how you might have been raised. However, I will assert that a lifetime of avoiding mortal sin without great love for God and neighbor will only lead to the same sadness as the Rich Young Man who could not part with his wealth to follow Jesus. Committing any sin is no act of love at all, so we should avoid all sin. On the other side of the coin, unless we recognize the gravity of our sins, particular those that cut us off from the life of Christ, the harder it will be to truly repent, convert, and amend our life. The man who fails to see the gravity of his sin, is blind to the gap of love that the sin represents. The one who cheats to get their child into college and shrugs it off is someone who doesn't properly understand his obligation in love to all the students who worked hard by honest efforts to be admitted. When we can't love properly, we are dead. When we reach for out for perfect love with all our heart to make things right, then we are reaching out for life itself. Every moment we live we are free to to turn our hearts to that love, once we die, our die is cast.
Living this at Home: It is a crucial element of our faith to teach our children not only to be good, but that they should and must turn back to God after they have committed sin. We try really hard to instill virtue and good behavior in our children, and we rightly should! However, we need to teach them the lesson of God's Divine Mercy and teach them the practice of repentance and reconciliation. Our children should be raised with a hopeful love that doesn't despair for the sinners in their lives, but has a Christian hope (along with God's) for the salvation and conversion of all souls! For the whole world. When the young share this Divine love for others we should teach them the humility that they can only love this way in recognition that it is only by God's grace they are not in traded places with the one they love. Teach them to resolve that should ever that table be turned that they would follow the path of hope they present to others. A challenge to families would be to listen and pray that chaplet of Divine Mercy. Asking God for mercy, both for ourselves, but also for the whole world. Watch how our hearts expand in joy and love when we do that!
My favorite version of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy can be found here:
Instructions on the Divine Mercy Chaplet can be found Here: https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php
You use a set of rosary beads to pray the chaplet, if you would like a set, please contact my office, I'm happy to provide them for your whole family!