Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Sadness of Sin

I read the wrong intercessions at morning prayer today, using the ones meant for those who don't celebrate the feast of the Ascension until Sunday. But that's okay, since one of the incorrect (for my diocese) intercessions struck me rather forcefully, as stray lines from the Divine Office will from time to time.

The petition reads: Be our great joy that no one can take from us, so that we may reject sin with its sadness, and reach out to eternal life.

Sin with its  sadness.

People don't choose sin  because they want to be sad. Usually they think sin will make them happy (or at least help them avoid unhappiness.) And to a degree they are right. When we sin, we aren't  usually desiring the bad part: wanting to break God's law or to inflict pain on others.  We're desiring something that is in some way good.  We're just going about the wrong way of getting it. So sin will, at first,  bring happiness.

The sadness comes later. And not just in the next life, but in this one. Many sinful choices have consequences that  become obvious sooner or later. Worse,  longtime sinful habits can actually blind a person to what has brought about the shallow, empty life she is leading. Worst of all, when a particular sin becomes accepted by society as "normal behavior", that society becomes twisted, turned upside down, so that things once universally acknowledged as good and desirable are now seen as evil.  Just think of the Culture of Death that seems to reign in so many ways in our world. Blessed are the barren.

It's so sad.

But I can be pretty pathetic too. There are a few areas in my own life--I can just barely glimpse what they are--where others, who lack those particular flaws--probably want to grab me by the shoulders and shake me, saying, "What's the matter with you? Wake up! Don't you see how sad this is, to keep doing this same stupid thing over and over?"

Lord, have Mercy on us.
Jesus, I trust in you.