The Mystery of Sin and Our Trust in the Lord
First, the Mystery of the Incarnation is connected to the Mystery of Sin: "The doctrine of Original Sin is, so to speak, the "reverse side" of the Good News that Jesus is the Savior of all men, that all need salvation, and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. The Church, which has the mind of Christ, knows very well that we cannot tamper with the Revelation of Original Sin without undermining the Mystery of Christ" Catechism, no. 389).
Second, while created intrinsically good, human nature is in a fallen state: "Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature, inclined to evil, gives rise to serious errors in the area of education, politics, social action, and morals" (Catechism, no. 407). Every person, then, inclines toward sin and, if unchecked, that inclination leads to sinful acts. The Church categorizes certain sinful acts as grave and enumerates them as Capital Sins: "pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia" (Catechism, no. 1866).
Third, every person, assisted by God's sacramental graces, possesses the interior freedom to discipline and the moral strength to master unruly passions agitated by selfish desires, disorderly affections, or unstable emotions. As codified in the "Ten Commandments," and clarified in the "Eight Beatitudes," the Catholic Church admonishes all her children to obey the divine and moral laws, thereby avoiding sinful acts.
The three teachings above apply in a particular way to every baptized person:
"The reign of life has begun; the tyranny of death is ended. A new birth has taken place, a new life has come, a new order of existence has appeared, our very nature has been transformed. This birth is not brought about by "human generation, by the will of man, or by the desire of the flesh, but by God" (Jn 1:13). If you wonder how, I will explain in clear language.
Faith is the womb that conceives the new life, baptism the rebirth by which it is brought forth into the light of day. The [Catholic] Church is its nurse, her teachings are its milk, the Bread from Heaven [the Holy Eucharistic] is its food. It is brought to maturity by the practice of virtue, it is wedded to [divine] wisdom; it gives birth to hope. Its home is the Kingdom [of God]; its rich inheritance the joys of Paradise; its end, not death, but the blessed and eternal life prepared for those who are worthy" (Saint Gregory of Nyssa).
John D. Meehan has been involved in the lay apostolate of the Catholic Church since the close of the Second Vatican Council. He resides in New Hampshire with his lovely wife Elizabeth.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: year of faith, john d. meehan, sin, redemption, sacrament of confession
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