December 18, 2009

From My Confessor

Qui bene distinguit, bene docet:

As sinners we should keep in mind that our root problem is not that we are people who commit this or that sin, but that we are squanderers of grace. Sin, after all, considered as evil, is the privation of the good or virtue that ought to be there instead. That is why there is nothing delightful or even interesting about sin; when there seems to be it is because we have been deluded or tricked by worldly distraction, concupiscence, or the devil.

We believe in a just God, a God who is Justice, and one of the primary expression of God's justice in our lives is to supply with us with all of the particular grace we might require to live the life to which we have been called with freedom and joy. My yoke is easy, and my burden light. So if we sin, it is because we have missed out on the grace that is offered to live the opposite virtue or to do the opposite work.

This is why vigilance and attention are so critical, to leave our minds and senses free enough to notice and take advantage of the graces that come to us in the course of our days.

Penance: the old 10, 10, and 10.


Br. Tom Forde OFMCap said...

Some of my brothers and I have come to the conclusion that we in the West have lost touch with that part of the Church's tradition that the East called 'elders' - the 'abbas', 'geron', or 'staretz'. You seem to have found a wise one!
Isn't the tradition of custody of the eyes fundamentally about keeping distractions out so that the mind can be in the heart and attentive to grace? Without this attentiveness to the indwelling Lord we wander, tossed by every wave of feeling and each passion.

I often tell my penitents that we all suffer, as a primary effect of the fall, from the delusion that we are the centre of the Universe and everyone else ought to do as we want, when, how and where we want and that we can treat them as we like. There is only one true centre and we have usurped His place! But He full of mercy and compassion has sent His Son to us to bring us into full communion with Him and taste, even in this world, the delights of His love. Once we realise Who it is who loves us and How much then it is easier to be attentive to Him.

Thank you and your confessor for this post.

pennyante said...

Fr. Charles, I was thinking along the same lines just recently... how so often I don't accept the grace that I know is there; and instead, go off and do what Penny wants to do. Squanderers of grace is a great term.

Bro. Tom's comment about "the delusion that we are the centre of the Universe and everyone else ought to do as we want, when, how and where we want and that we can treat them as we like." is right on the mark...

Thank you both.

Brother Charles said...

Br. Tom, I agree that something is lost sometimes...once in a while when preaching I invite people to notice their spiritual mothers and fathers, those who have begotten them on the spiritual level...

4narnia said...

this is a great post, Fr. C! "vigilance and attention are so critical." this is so true! just being "open" to the Holy Spirit in our lives is all it takes. i definitely have noticed a difference if i remain open-there are always graces and blessings all around us if we just remain OPEN. what Jesus tells us is true: "My yoke is easy, and my burden light." there can be great joy, happiness and freedom living a spiritual life. i'm often told by non-practicing family members or even friends who don't practice, either, that i "could be doing better things with my life" and "why do you have to do all you do for the church?" it's really not something that can be explained to anyone. it's a way of life that brings much peace. like you say in your post, Fr. C, i'm simply trying to "live the life to which i've been called with freedom and joy." "Attentiveness" is also a key part of living a spiritual life and something that we must work hard at each and every day. at this present moment in my life, i do feel free and joyful in serving the Lord and others and i try to be attentive to Him everyday. PEACE! ~tara t~