struggling with sin, part two

I’m still pondering the topic of my  last blog post, struggling with sin. It was an attempt to share my own personal struggles and questions. I didn’t mean to discredit or minimize my belief in sin. My worst fear was that I would come across sounding delusional about my own sinfulness. Did she just say that she’s NOT a sinner???

After I published the post, I was reminded of a saying that I referred to often, in my far away past as a catechist.

The greatest sin of the 20th century, is the loss of the sense of sin. (St. John Paul II)

Have I lost this sense of sin? Have I rationalized my own innocence in order to avoid those horrible feelings of guilt and fear of bygone days? Am I falling into what-aboutism, the current mode of avoiding guilt? I might have done wrong, but what about all those others who are much greater sinners than I? 

The topic of sin and guilt prompted thoughtful comments, which you can read here.  Instead of responding on the comments board, I’d like to include them in this reflection.

What does it mean to say that I am a sinner? According to Gilles, it is

…before all else saying that I am striving for unity, congruence, relationship, communion (which is Love, by the way)…and that I’m not there yet.

AMEN! I really like this. It emphasizes the journey aspect of our lives. It ties in nicely, I think, with Dennis’s approach to feast days like Ash Wednesday as “symbols-in-time”, reminders of realities that that are always present. The liturgical calendar nudges us, as individuals and as a community, to stop and ponder what is already there.

Jerry mentioned a title by Thomas Merton, “Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander”, reminding us of the sins of omission as well as commission. We sin by doing and NOT doing.

Marceta further expanded our view of sin. Our seemingly small actions, added together, contribute to inequities and injustices around the world,

Maybe thinking about our global impact is a way to understand our connectedness as our contribution to sinfulness in the world.

Like Joanne, I get overwhelmed with the thought that I’m not “doing enough”. This week has been especially heavy with sadness in the news. We are told that sometimes “thoughts and prayers” are not enough. We must act. But, what can we do? What can I do? How much am I can I be responsible for? It is overwhelming!

Prayer might not cure all the evils of the world, but it connects us to the divine goodness, love and peace that is God. And, God knows that we need more goodness, love and peace in our lives and in our world!

A special thank you to a new friend to the dialogue, Perpetua! Your words had me giggling. All wet noodles should be covered with Alfredo. Yum! 🙂

Thanks to all for helping write this post!

Lenten peace and blessings…


P.S. Check out Perpetua’s blog, Life Is Like That. 

3 thoughts on “struggling with sin, part two

  1. I offer this not as criticism of church but, rather as a lament. When I reflect on my sinfulness, it was (and still is residually) as against a “standard” set by “Church”. External, arbitrary standards of institutional compliance replaced redeemed soulfulness, and human maturation. These still define “traditionalist” Catholicism and still is the norm. The “Francis effect” remains a fragile, vaguely grasped exception. Sadly, resentment is increasingly replacing that guilt. The resentment is not merely about “me”, but for a world, young people, ordinary seekers- consciously or not – for whom the real Jesus , the real tradition and the companionship with/in Him/it is so, so close yet withheld, conditional upon an ideology rather than an embrace. Not only withheld, but increasingly exposed to exist in a theatrical, cultish exclusion, paranoia and schizophrenia.
    Assuming that “God so loved the world…”, it behooves religion to take God at God’s word and embrace humanity…human person, by human person, into a nurturing embrace. To paraphrase Irenaeus (second century) – the glory of god is the human person in its fullness.
    Diversity and inclusion don’t threaten stability. They are essential elements of its definition. They challenge it, provoke and provide an opportunity to survive.
    (More of a rant than originally intended…but then isn’t it time that the real sin be acknowledge and true “guilt” lead to real reformation)

  2. Thanks for the shoutout, Isabella. Okay, I will try to be serious in a serious topic. First, I don’t know much about Catechism of the church. Speaking for myself, I look inward what is the sin that I committed. Is it deliberate that it inflicted pain to others? I also look at my moral values based on Jesus teachings not so much as what the Vatican says. As I am a social person using social media, I question myself am I addicted to internet or blogging or facebook. As a person with mental health issue, I can be prone to inflicting mea culpa to me all the time, hence the wet noodles. You see, my sin, if ever I can call it miine, may harm people from doing and non-doing, the church, the world that would drag down human race. It’s not relativism, singularism or pluralism. It is awareness. The struggle is the ego. Blessings, Perpetua

    1. I do know a lot about the Catechism of the church. Perhaps too much. Sigh. At one time I loved the “black and white” aspect of THIS IS RIGHT…THIS IS WRONG. How do I know? The Catechism says so! Doesn’t require much discernment, does it?

      I’m not dissing the Catechism. It’s a useful compendium of church teachings. But, it shouldn’t replace our own conscience or personal discernment. It also shouldn’t be used to hit ourselves or others over the head! (Wet noodles are better…;-) )

      Your approach to the sin in your life is much more personal. More focused on gospel and less on doctrine. More relational, focusing on “how does what I do affect those around me?” This is so spot on, I think. Getting in tune with the social aspect of sin…and all sin affects not just us. It hurts society too. I think it was Marceta who brought this topic up also.

      Here’s to awareness!

      peace to you and yours,

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