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.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis to bless Philippines President after receiving letter of peace Watch

Image of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offers peace to Pope Francis and the Catholic Church.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has made several negative comments about Pope Francis and the Catholic Church - So why is he suddenly writing the pontiff a letter of reconciliation? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Duterte's violent war on drugs has been a ... continue reading


Nebraska law created by KKK forces nuns to remove habits in the classroom Watch

Image of Nuns are not allowed to wear their habits in Nebraska classrooms (not pictured).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Sister Madeleine Miller applied for a teaching job at a Nebraska high school. Unbeknownst to her, a shocking, nearly century-old, law calls for her to remove all religious clothing before stepping foot on school grounds. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The law bans ... continue reading


This pope is about to do something controversial when the Virgin Mary sends a message... Watch

Image of Pope Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun as he debated affirming the Assumption of Mary.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Venerable Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun in 1950, which he took as confirmation of an important declaration. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Pope Venerable Pius XII saw the Miracle of the Sun in 1950. At that time, he faced a decision. He wanted to ... continue reading


Catholic school faces lawsuit for firing gay teacher Watch

Image of Charlotte Catholic High School is involved in a discrimination case against a teacher involved in a same-sex civil marriage.

By Kevin J. Jones (CNA/EWTN News)

A lawsuit against a Catholic high school claims that it was illegal discrimination to fire a teacher for contracting a same-sex civil marriage, but a law professor suggests the case will not make any progress. Charlotte, NC (CNA/EWTN News) - "What they're trying to do ... continue reading


Dominicans celebrate 800-year anniversary with special reflection and prayers Watch

Image of Dominicans celebrate 800 year anniversary with reflection and prayer.

By Hannah Brockhaus (CNA/EWTN News)

As the Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominicans, celebrate the 800th anniversary of their founding, they gather in Rome from around the world to reflect on their history, their charism of preaching, and how they can continue to put this charism at the service ... continue reading


Our Lady of Fatima will be crowned by Cardinal Nichols at initiation of the 100-year anniversary Watch

Image of An Our Lady of Fatima statue still be crowned to begin the centenary year (Mary Anne Urlakis).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The World Apostolate of Fatima National Pilgrim Virgin statue will be received, blessed and crowned by Cardinal Nichols on Saturday February 18, 2017. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This year is the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's appearance to three children in ... continue reading


Bishops of Malta suggest it may be 'impossible' for people to abstain from sex? Watch

Image of The bishops of Malta have issued a document to convey their understanding of Amoris Laetitia.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The debate over Amoris Laetitia may not be over. Last week the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Muller, declared that the document was "very clear" and did not require correction. But now the bishops on Malta have issued their own ... continue reading


Pope Francis reminds us what it means to be Christian Watch

Image of Being a real Christian is witnessing to nonbelievers.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis was at St. Mary's Parish in Rome on Sunday, where he spent over three hours explaining the basics. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Catholic Herald, Pope Francis delivered an important message to children, young adults and adults as ... continue reading


Pope Francis meets with Palestinian President to open Palestinian Embassy Watch

Image of Pope Francis meets with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has met with Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican during a ceremony to unveil the new Palestinian embassy there. The meeting comes as the world wonders is the incoming Trump administration will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. LOS ... continue reading


Join us in praying a novena for Fr. Tom's safe release, as he remains captive for the 10th month Watch

Image of Salesians prepare novena for Fr. Tom's safe return.

By (CNA/EWTN News)

On the 10 month anniversary of the kidnapping of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil in Yemen, the Salesians are inviting people around the world to join them in praying a novena for the priest's safety and release. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - The Salesian order, to which Fr. ... 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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 7:25--8:6
25 It follows, then, that his power to save those who come to God through ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 40:7-8, 8-9, 10, 17
7 then I said, 'Here I am, I am coming.' In the scroll of the book it is ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:7-12
7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 19th, 2017 Image

St. Fillan
January 19: Fillan, son of Feriach and St. Kentigerna, was ... Read More