See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Friday, March 04, 2011

Blaming the devil.




Born this way. -Gaga
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Years ago I was convinced I was either being physically assaulted by the devil, or at least helplessly addicted to a particular sin.  I eventually found a wonderful spiritual director who reminded me that we were each endowed with free will, and as baptized Christians we were placed in the state of grace.  Grace can be lost by sin, yet restored by the sacrament of penance.  With the help of the sacraments, prayer and mortification (penance) nothing is impossible for God, and the soul can realize a certain liberty of spirit - or the freedom of the sons of God.  Although it can take many years of struggle, encountering setbacks, falling and rising; sustained by perseverance in prayer and penance and faithful use of the sacraments; the soul finds solace in Christ.
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While it is true some of us can become physically addicted to substance abuse and possibly sins of the flesh, these issues can be treated, frequently with the help of professionals.  It is also true that ones moral responsibility and culpability is often times compromised due to the addiction and or the severity of temptation.  All of this should be matter for the penitent and the confessor to work out, therefore I'm not delving into all the nuances involved in such discernment.
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My point is to make clear that despite all of the various excuses human nature poses in defense of bad behavior - media influences, drugs, alcohol, addiction to porn and sex, or the very Catholic 'the devil made me do it' - none of these excuses completely negate one's personal freedom and responsibility.  We are responsible for our sins, no matter how much we or others deny it or make excuses for it, or even blame the devil for it.  I think we delude ourselves into excusing bad behavior with the excuse someone or something made us do it.
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I think we Catholics need to relearn the importance of the practice of the virtues in the spiritual life, and come to an understanding of the passions.  We need to appreciate the role concupiscence and fallen human nature  plays in causing our down falls.  Of course, while we are very much assaulted on all sides by the world, the flesh and the devil, it seems to me that our loving the world and its pleasures - and ourselves inordinately - plays a larger role than we imagine in our moral failures.  It seems to me that our lack of penance and mortification have left the door wide open to the world and the flesh - even before the devil gets onto the front walk.
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I think we need to stop making excuses all of the time, and always placing all the blame on the devil - or even claiming we were born this way...
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I might be wrong however. 

7 comments:

  1. “Humility is to the various virtues what the chain is in a rosary. Take away the chain and the beads are scattered; remove humility and all virtues vanish.”

    --St. John Vianney

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  2. +JMJ+

    Or as St. Josemaria Escriva said, it's not your character, it's your lack of character.

    (I always feel a bit weird quoting him in public. I'm not with Opus Dei, I swear!)

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  3. Well said.

    Hope you don't mind me linking to it via Facebook? It's not just that Lent in coming that our minds should be set on mortification.

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  4. What a timely post this is. And you are so right, as you usually are. This is something I wish I could explain to people suffering from same sex attraction. There are many sins of the flesh that cause us to become separated from God through the commission of mortal sin. Some of them a person can commit all by themselves and some of them drag other people down with them. The key is to avoid whatever leads you to that sin. There is surprisingly little on television and elsewhere that you can be exposed to without being lead into some kind of temptation. Last week I innocently Googled a harmless topic (I wanted to find a vote for me sign to post as a graphic) and you would not believe the pornography that popped up. Temptation sneaks up on you even when you think you're minding your own business.

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  5. Terry and st michael. Please see my latest post.

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