Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

6/13/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sin, says St. Bonaventure, carries its own punishments.  In his Second Conference on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, St. Bonaventure says that these punishments are seven in number, with six of them being temporal, and one eternal.  Sin also results in the loss of the good.  And so each of these Bonaventuran judgments can be tied to the loss of a particular good.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/13/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: St. Bonaventure, Holy Spirit, Jesus, judgment, being bound, blindness, obstinacy, dereliction, dissipation, desperation.


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Sin, says St. Bonaventure, carries its own punishments.  In his Second Conference on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, St. Bonaventure says that these punishments are seven in number, with six of them being temporal, and one eternal.  Sin does not only affect us in the next life: in Purgatory, temporal punishments; in the Hell of the damned, eternal punishment.  Sin affects us now.

According to St. Bonaventure, the six temporal punishments associated with sin are being bound (alligationis), blindness (excaecationis), obstinacy (obstinationis), dereliction (derelictionis), dissipation (dissipationis), desperation (desperationis).  

The seventh and last punishment-a punishment without end and from which there is no escape-is damnation (condemnationis).  It is the result of dying in the state of mortal sin.  "When a man dies in mortal sin," says the Seraphic Doctor, "he is perpetually separated from eternal glory, and his soul is condemned to eternal fire unto the end of the world" after his death and particular judgment, "and then he will be punished also in his body" at the end of history and the final judgment.

Sin is a horrible voluntary lapse into nothingness against the interest of the being and good of the creature.  St. Augustine's definition is famous: sin is privatio boni, the absence, the privation, of good.  We find this notion also in the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas.  S.T., Ia, q. 48, art. 1 c.  

Sin is a wound-the absence of wholeness.  It is blindness-the loss of sight.  It is a disease of the soul-the absence of health.  It is an entry into darkness-the absence of light.  

Sin is a lapse into the unreal-to non-being, to non-good, to non-beauty-by a creature that is called to the real-to being, to good, to beauty.  As the 19th century French bishop, Charles Louis Gay describes sin in his splendid book The Christian Life and Virtues, sin is "nothingness mingled with existence," a "nothingness which is voluntary, active, and armed," a "nothingness which says no, and which combats and struggles."

The privation of sin therefore deprives us of such goods as freedom, sight, sensitivity toward reality, the ability to relate to others, any sense of the good, and, ultimately, even the very expectation of good: hope.  These deprivations of good tie into the temporal judgments identified by St. Bonaventure.

Sin deprives us of freedom by increasing our desire for sin and by making it difficult to fight against that disordered desire.  Sin, St. Bonaventure therefore teaches, has the quality of a ligature, a rope, chains.  It causes us to be bound, to be tied up, to be held down fast, to be attached; in short, to the state of alligation.  

"With the cords of his sin," says Proverbs 5:22, the sinner is "fast bound."  St. Bonaventure says a sinner is fast bound by two chains, one which makes our appetite tend toward evil and another which makes it difficult to be good, and these bind us "into the hands of the devil."  Jesus, of course, warned us that he who commits sin is a slave to sin.  (John 8:34)

Sin also deprives us of sight.  The mind's eye is darkened, and becomes disdainful of the light.  In a way, man not only chains up his body by sin, but he chains up his mind, his soul, his spirit by it.  He puts out his eyes, just like Sampson.  "For from sin a man has a chain on his mind, so that he reputes nothing a sin," says St. Bonaventure, and "he puts forth the idea that light is darkness and darkness is light."  Evil be thou my good.

Sin also deprives us of sensitivity to reality.  This is the judgment of obstinacy (obstinatio).  We become hardened to sin, we build up defenses against it.  We deteriorate from being sinners, to  a habitual living in sin.  Sin becomes the leitmotif of our lives, and we cannot hear the music of angels, the harmonies of the Gospel.  Here we start to become unreachable: "The heart of man" who suffers under the judgment of obstinacy in sin, "can be softened neither with promises, nor with threats of punishment or future torment."

God, of course, tries to touch the obstinate one, but after a time the obstinate one finds himself almost outside of the range of hearing.  The sinner here becomes incapable of communion, incapable of regarding the Other, incapable of believing he has a duty to anyone but himself.  He suffers the judgment of dereliction.  

When under the judgment of dereliction, God "forsakes a man and exposes him to whatever temptation and sin" according to St. Bonaventure.  This is merely complying with what the sinner desires, since the man under the judgment of dereliction has no interest in praying, "lead us not into temptation" as in the Lord's Prayer, or "do not forsake me, Lord, when my virtue has failed," or "do not depart from me," as in the Psalms.  (Ps. 70:9; 21:12)

Even here, however, at the boundaries of dissipation and despair, at the edge of sinning against the Holy Spirit, God holds out the possibility of redemption.  The hardened heart of the obstinate and resolute sinner who is derelict can still be touched by actual grace, indeed is able, with God's grace, to make an act of perfect contrition and die in a state of sanctifying grace.  

Such a marvelous thing happened to the penitent thief, and his last-minute response to God's grace landed him in Paradise.  

Jesus' dark words on the cross, His cry of dereliction-"My God, my God, why have you abandoned me"-are actually words of hope, and not of despair, because they remind us that even the sinner under the harsh judgment of dereliction is not outside of God's redemption.

Sin also deprives us of the sense of good.  When this happens, we reach the fifth judgment: dissipation.  Dissipation occurs, says St. Bonaventure, "when all things which a man does are dissipated."  Such a man says nothing upright, does nothing good, abides by no duty.  "The whole of what he does," says St. Bonaventure, "is iniquitous."  By chronic abuse, he has destroyed his human dignity; he has effectively killed his conscience.  He is virtually a thing, and no man.

St. Paul speaks of dissipation and how it falls under God's judgment.  Dissipation occurs to those who change the truth of God into a lie, who worship and serve themselves rather than God, and so are handed over to shameful affections and depraved, reprobate minds.  They seethe in their sin, and in revel all manner of sins.  (Rom. 1:26-32).  "For we know that the judgment of God is, according to truth, against" the dissipated.  (Rom. 2:2).

Sin finally leads to the loss of hope, to despair.  That last temporal punishment-desperation-might be called temporal Hell.  It is the "most horrible judgment," horriblissimum iudicium, this side of death.  It is the "greatest judgment," the iudicium maximum, "that can be given in this life." It is the judgment that fell on Judas.  

This horrible judgment is being in, and remaining in, a state of sin against the Holy Spirit which is not forgiven in this life or the life to come.  (Matt. 12:32).  In his Moralia in Iob, Pope St. Gregory the Great said that the greatest of Judas's sins was not betraying his Lord, but was despairing of forgiveness after his sin of betrayal.  Peius de peccato poenituit quam peccavit.  (Mor., XI, 9.12).  His manner of repentance-an ineffective despair-was worse that the horrible sin he despaired of.

In short, it the judgment of desperation might be characterized as the idolatry of one's sin.  Why?  Because one under the judgment of desperation views his sin to be so great as to be unforgivable by God-which is tantamount to saying his sin is greater than God's mercy, and so an idol more powerful than God.  It is the greatest unreality of all.  It is the Devil's big lie.

To remove ourselves from God's judgment is actually quite easy in this life.  Jesus, St. John tells us, did not come into the world "to condemn the world, but that the world may be saved by him."  John 3:17.  Those under the judgment of sin are like the Philippian jailor, who asked the Apostle Paul and Silas, "What must I do to be saved?"

Their response: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your house shall be saved."  (Acts 16:31)  He who responds to the prevenient and sufficient grace of Christ and comes to believe in Him as Lord "comes out of judgment."  (John 5:24)  It is Christ who gives man the means to overcome the slavery, blindness, obstinacy, dereliction, dissipation, and desperation that come with sin.  It is Christ who gives man Christ freedom, sight, a life founded on reality-on what is-, the ability to love his neighbor as himself, a firm sense of the good, the beautiful, and the true, and, finally, a well founded hope of eternal life.
-----
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find-even within the huge cities of the world-opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More Living Faith

'World Youth Day is all about fun': Pope Francis enjoys event Watch

Image of With exception of the trip to Auschwitz, Pope Francis is enjoying his visit to Poland for World Youth Day.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Vatican has released an update on Pope Francis' trip to Poland. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "[I]t is really clear [Pope Francis] is enjoying" his Polish trip, Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, <a ... continue reading


How to be a missionary of mercy: Bishop Caggiano blows minds at WYD Watch

Image of Be the change you want to see.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Too many people believe God has only called a select few to the path of mercy and compassion when the truth is we have all been called to be missionaries of mercy. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Catholic News Service, many young pilgrims who traveled ... continue reading


Popular country singer sings powerful, MUST-HEAR song to 'Pray for Peace' Watch

Image of Reba McEntire releases touching 'Pray for Peace' music video (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Country music artist, actress and author Reba McEntire released a music video titled "Pray for Peace," which has since touched hearts around the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "Pray for Peace" video features people of all walks of life holding their ... continue reading


'Don't be afraid': Pope Francis delivers first balcony speech for World Youth Day Watch

Image of Pope Francis at WYD (PopeFrancisVisit).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

On his first night in Krakow Pope Francis was already stirring things up with participants in WYD by hosting an off-the-cuff Q and A and telling them to 'make chaos' by spreading the joy of their faith. Krakow, Poland (CNA/EWTN News) - "You must do your duty and make ... continue reading


You're Pope for a day! See what's it really like to be pope! Could you do the job? Watch

Image of You're pope for a day. Can you do the job?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Congratulations on becoming pope for the day! You have a busy day ahead, so get some rest, the night will be short. VATICAN CITY, ITALY (Catholic Online) - The buzz of the alarm jolts you awake. With bleary eyes you glance at the clock which reads 4:45am. It's time to ... continue reading


Did Pope Francis seriously just give nuns permission to play Pokemon Go? Watch

Image of Texting, tweeting or Pokemon? Moderation is key, and that goes for absolutely everybody, not just nuns.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis is encouraging the use of social media for nuns, on the condition they use it properly and in moderation. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Pope Francis has issued a new document praising the work nuns do. Within the document, he also suggests that ... continue reading


'We are all God's children': Cardinal urges WYD pilgrims to ensure the Gospel of Jesus reaches the world Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz's welcome to World Youth Day pilgrims on Tuesday had a stirring reminder: it is up to them to ensure that the Gospel of Jesus Christ reaches the world. Krakow, Poland (CNA/EWTN News) - "Carry the flame of your faith and ignite with it other ... continue reading


Pope request prayers for all en route to 31st World Youth Day Watch

Image of Pope Francis asks for prayers for the pilgrims.

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis has asked for prayers as he, and all the pilgrims attending this year's World Youth Day, prepare to make their way to Krakow, Poland for the international event. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pope, who leaves Wednesday, said Sunday that he is ... continue reading


Pope Francis responds to the heartbreaking attacks around the world Watch

Image of

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

On Sunday, Pope Francis responded to recent acts of violence in Germany and Afghanistan, expressing his closeness to the families of the victims, and stressing the importance of prayer in the face of threats against "safety and peace." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


'Contemplative communities are not immune': Pope Francis on prayer Watch

Image of Cloisters have new prayer habits.

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Amid modern challenges emerging from a culture which provides increasingly easier access to outside distractions, Pope Francis has issued new norms for women's cloistered communities, which place a special emphasis on prayer and the centralization of communities. LOS ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24
11 The priests and prophets then said to the chief men and all the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34
15 Let not the waves wash over me, nor the deep swallow me up, nor the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:1-12
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2016 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the ... Read More