MONDAY HOMILY: Overcoming Evil by an Abundance of Good
If we want the world to be a better place, we must be better. If we want to erect a bulwark against sin, we must begin with our own hearts. And if we want to rein in our tendency to sin, we must cultivate the virtues, beginning with the love of God.
SUGAR LAND,TX (Catholic Online) - In 1946 Pope Pius XII said, "The sin of the century was the loss of the sense of sin." His remarks were addressed to a catechetical conference in the United States. The Pope's comments were made less than a year after the end of the most horrific war in human history, which witnessed the deaths of tens of millions of people.
Looking over the morally barren landscape, the Pope rightly saw that the evils of war were precipitated in part by society's abandonment of a right relationship with God. Raw human willfulness had replaced moral reasoning. The result was untold suffering.
Pope Pius was not naďve, however. He knew that the inclination to sin is part of the human condition. "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur," says the Lord in the Gospel reading of today's Mass (Luke 17:1). This inclination to sin is called "concupiscence," which remains even after one has been purified in baptism.
"Certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition call concupiscence" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1264).
Even though concupiscence is a weakness for which we are not personally responsible - it being a kind of "scar" left over from original sin - we cannot use it as an excuse for evil actions. "The devil made me do it," and "that's just the way I am," are not acceptable pretexts that justify sin or remove its gravity. Concupiscence may render us weak, but it does not rob us of our freedom.
Modern man often confuses freedom with libertinism. The latter is pure willfulness; doing what one wants because one wants it. Freedom, on the other hand, is "the power, rooted in reason and will to act or not to act. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God,, our beatitude" (Catechism, no. 1731).
So, even though sin is inevitable, it is not inevitable in every instance or in every moment of one's life. Through the exercise of one's free will, each person has the capacity - even if weakened by concupiscence - to elect the good over evil. However, we are not always naturally disposed to the good: it is something that we must strive to know and to embrace.
Thankfully, God has given us the means to know the good. First, we possess the power of reason, which helps us to discern the good in things and circumstances. Second, we have the gift of divine revelation - Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition - which give us clarity about what is good and evil. Third, we have the Church, "the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15).
How does the knowledge of what is good make any difference to the evil that we witness in the world? Knowing what is good is only the start. We must embrace the good, even in the face of sacrifice, persecution, and inner turmoil. "Do not be conquered by evil," says St. Paul, "but conquer evil with good" (Romans 12:21).
The cultivation of the virtues - good moral habits - is the antidote to the weakness of concupiscence that we experience. If we want the world to be a better place, we must be better. If we want to erect a bulwark against sin, we must begin with our own hearts. And if we want to rein in our tendency to sin, we must cultivate the virtues, beginning with the love of God.
Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is the Pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas. You are invited to visit them on the Web at: www.SugarLandCatholic.com.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed. That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We ... continue reading
The heart is the center of a person, the place from which he/she makes the choices which will affect the world within them and around them. ... continue reading
The consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism. If you do not know the date of your own ... continue reading
I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. HYTHE, ... continue reading
The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Friday, November 24, 2017
- Deacon Keith Fournier on Thanksgiving Day and the Need to Return to God
- Daily Reading for Monday, November 27th, 2017 HD Video
- Quotes of the Saints - Five saints have a message for you on this ...
- St. Andrew Dung Lac: Saint of the Day for Friday, November 24, 2017
- Pope Francis to meet with Rev. Barber to discuss fight agianst poverty
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 HD Video
- Will 2018 be the year the Big One hits California? The news media makes a shocking claim HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, November 26th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, November 25th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, November 24th, 2017 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way