Friday, February 24, 2012

Fasting from food is good...



Abstaining from sin is better.

When St. Bernadette was asked, "What is a sinner?" she replied, "Someone who loves sin."

At every stage of my conversion I have struggled with various sins, often wondering why I kept falling into the same sins over and over.  Especially sins of the flesh.  Frequently, what I failed to acknowledge and pretty much tried to ignore, was my attachment to a particular sin, or rather, my affection for it.  St. Francis De Sales discusses this subject in the Introduction to the Devout Life:
ALL the children of Israel went forth from the land of Egypt, but not all went forth heartily, and so, when wandering in the desert, some of them sighed after the leeks and onions,—the fleshpots of Egypt. Even so there are penitents who forsake sin, yet without forsaking their sinful affections; that is to say, they intend to sin no more, but it goes sorely against them to abstain from the pleasures of sin;—they formally renounce and forsake sinful acts, but they turn back many a fond lingering look to what they have left, like Lot’s wife as she fled from Sodom. They are like a sick man who abstains from eating melon when the doctor says it would kill him, but who all the while longs for 21 it, talks about it, bargains when he may have it, would at least like just to sniff the perfume, and thinks those who are free to eat of it very fortunate. And so these weak cowardly penitents abstain awhile from sin, but reluctantly;—they would fain be able to sin without incurring damnation;—they talk with a lingering taste of their sinful deeds, and envy those who are yet indulging in the like. Thus a man who has meditated some revenge gives it up in confession, but soon after he is to be found talking about the quarrel, averring that but for the fear of God he would do this or that; complaining that it is hard to keep the Divine rule of forgiveness; would to God it were lawful to avenge one’s self! Who can fail to see that even if this poor man is not actually committing sin, he is altogether bound with the affections thereof, and although he may have come out of Egypt, he yet hungers after it, and longs for the leeks and onions he was wont to feed upon there! It is the same with the woman who, though she has given up her life of sin, yet takes delight in being sought after and admired. Alas! of a truth, all such are in great peril. - Chapter VII  

Photo notes:  Notice the head coverings on the women.  Most American women either wore scarves or hats - not Mantillas - before Mrs. Kennedy came along.  Told ya.  Not an issue however.

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. "some of them sighed after the leeks and onions"

    Me, in a nutshell. thankyou

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  3. Most American men wore hats before Mr. Kennedy came along.

    Good post.

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  4. I can very much appreciate this. I have always liked this analogy of a life of sin as "living in Egypt". It's a continual daily mortification of trying not to "long for the fleshpots of Egypt" or turning to look back at my life in Sodom as Lot's wife. There is a southern gospel song called, "Living in Canaan now"
    I like the words:

    Egypt was once my home, I was a slave,
    Helpless in sin, did roam; love life, did play;
    But when I looked up to heaven's throne, Christ came to stay,
    I'm living in Canaan now.

    Living on Canaan's side, Egypt behind,
    Crossed over Jordan. Why? Gladness to find;
    My soul is satisfied, no longer I am blind,
    Living with Jesus up in Canaan right now.

    Satan may have you bound with fetters strong,
    Look up to higher ground, do not be long;
    'Til Christ the Saviour, your soul is found,
    You'll sing this song, "I'm living in Canaan now".

    Living on Canaan's side, Egypt behind,
    Crossed over Jordan. Why? Gladness to find;
    My soul is satisfied, no longer I am blind,
    Living in Canaan now.

    Living on Canaan's side, Egypt behind,
    Crossed over Jordan. Why? Gladness to find;
    My soul is satisfied (my soul is satisfied, my soul is satisfied),
    Living with Jesus up in Canaan right now.

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  5. susan9:20 AM

    Terry, I haven't been here for a while, but I'm so very glad I checked back in. Your writing and blog have gotten oh so much better. Something has happened interiorly with you, and I don't say that as a snark, or in a condescending way, but with fullness of sincerity (for whatever it's worth). I'm finding good spiritual food here rather than a raising of my blood pressure. Most especially, thanks for this beautiful post....I forgot how WONDERFUL 'Introduction to the Devout Life' is...will have to blow the dust off my copy and dive in again for Lent. Thanks for the reminder. God bless you.

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  6. Thanks very much Susan.

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