Monday Message from Fr. Larry
Dear St. Theresa family,
When is “one
I just finished another “Covid” book. One of many books I have intended to read or re-read for some time. This one was “
Whatever Became of Sin”
by Karl Menninger a popular twentieth century psychiatrist who warns that should the concept of sin become eliminated from cultural discourse any hope of a moral society would be imperiled. While odd that such a work would come from the medical community rather the religious it is not surprising given the loss of awareness of human wrongdoing and not hearing much on the topic from the pulpit. For Dr. Menninger one of the most psychologically healthy things a person can do is acknowledge sin and confess it. There is darkness out there as we have seen in the media. It isn’t the darkness of overt brutality, adulterous affairs, and greed. The real darkness, out of which all darkness flows, isn’t found on the outside, but within. And there is a name for it…sin.
We don’t like to talk about sin and salvation much in our culture. Sin is seen as an embarrassment and something that makes us feel guilty and unworthy. Talk of salvation challenges our need to be autonomous and self-reliant. If a priest talks about sin and sinful behavior it causes as lot of shifting around in seats, furtive glances and for some a sense of being singled out. Many have left the Church because they are attracted to a happier, more uplifting way to be spiritual, usually with a cup of coffee and the cross-word puzzle. At the end of the day, though, what is at the heart of all our desperate struggling is sin. At a basic level, we are broken people, incapable of making ultimate meaning or sense of our lives. Until we come to terms with this truth, we will always be desperate. Christians know that honestly owning up to the truth about our broken lives is not an act of cowardice but a sign of bravery.
There is an answer. It comes to us through the grace of God, in the person of Jesus Christ. He came to release the captives from the bondage of sin. He understands the restless hearts, the denial of sacred identity and failed relationships. He is the one who comes to rescue us and once we encounter the love of Christ given in the sacrament of penance, nothing is the same. Wherever there is honest confession there is true forgiveness. Whenever there is a cry of the heart, Christ answers in compassion. Whenever someone is lost, Jesus the Good Shepherd goes out searching until the lost is found. Whenever someone is in peril, Jesus comes to save.
Suddenly we have inner resources we never imagined, possibilities we never dreamed of. The struggles of daily life…for control, for meaning, for peace, for love…are gathered up into the love and acceptance of God. No longer plagued by questions, we have the only answer we will ever need. We are children of the living God, who loves us and calls us into the world not to be tangled up in the webs of our own weaving, but to be like Christ, and bring the light into a world of darkness. Read the prologue to the Gospel of John. Verse 5 is the best of all:
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Truthfully, it is not so much a sense of sin that has gone missing but rather a sense of contrition and penance. We are seeing some of that going on around us now as a result of the global response to racial inequities. A society that hopes to flourish is one that faces its sin, confesses it, and then makes amends, or penance as the church calls it. If, however, a society is to embrace this it will only be because the people who make up society have embraced it as individuals. It is one thing to recognize sin and regret it and something else to repair the damage. It must begin with “Forgive me Father.”
Have a blessed week,
on Monday, June 22 at 10:10AM