Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Just when everything seemed to be going so well...

What happens?
Well, sometimes you can fall into that really big sin which once plagued you.  You thought you were over that one, huh?  Maybe you were too mature to fall that way again?  Sometimes great big falls from grace happen, so that after our repentance we become even more humble.  Sometimes our falls serve to wake us from our complacency, presumption and self-satisfaction.  The experience can be valuable to demonstrate just how much we need God - or owe God - and thus we are reminded that we can do nothing good without Him.  Of course, sometimes we've just been in denial about our intentions and desires... concupiscence - ignoring the occasions of sin we place ourselves in. 

But what if you really are doing well, and you just aren't plagued with temptations, and no occasion or near occasion of sin seems to be hounding you?  What if you are making it to Mass, setting aside time for prayer and everything is good?  Like you are just not bothered any longer.  What up with that?
Many persons who find no sin in themselves, because they have committed no grievous sins, are full of sins of omission, sins of indirectly voluntary and consequently culpable negligence. - Garrigou-Lagrange
*Another reason for big falls may be attributed to our negligence in regulating venial sin.  In addition to that, sometimes after we've struggled with habitual mortal sin for many years - we can be so focused upon the serious stuff, we just don't notice the venial sins and imperfections which have attached and cling to us.

Disclaimer:  This post wasn't about anyone in particular.


  1. Ouch! I think it's about all of us.

  2. Terry,

    I'm in the process (3rd week actually) of preparation to renew my total consecration to Jesus through Mary (de Montfort). The meditations for the past week all about helping one to see ourselves as we really are along with a thorough examination of conscience etc. I've been renewing my consecration yearly on Annunciation day. This is the second year that I've used Father Libietis' Book which is the only one that contains all the readings in one volume. It's been a great help to me.

    I think it's easy to get down on ourselves but as you say we can do nothing in and of ourselves. I have found that my daily renewal twice of consecration to Our Lady..My Queen! my Mother! I give thee all myself, and, to show my devotion to thee, I consecrate to thee my eyes, my ears, my mouth, ... helps me to keep focused. As do the three hail Mary's for purity.

    Mother Angelica gave a good analogy a few weeks ago: there are three types of sinners the ones who walk along the path and fall in the mud and stay in it and rub more mud all over themselves and are happy to continue on in it. The next type are those who fall in the mud and ask themselves, "now, WHY did I come this way again? I knew this would happen" and they get up and clean themselves off and continue on avoiding that same pathway in the future....the third kind know that they can't go down that pathway under any circumstances and avoid it all together.

  3. Servus - I'm so happy you are renewing your consecration - what a beautiful thing to do. How safe we are when we are totally Hers... I wish everyone would/could sanctify themselves vy this means.

  4. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Terry: Even the Bible says: that sinner falls once a day and the just man falls seven times a day.
    meaning that once a sinner falls he stays in his sins, and the just man falls and gets up again falls and starts over again and falls.....

    By the way I get a lot of compliments on the painting of St. Sebastian.
    Fr. Ray/DC

  5. I swear you're in my head. I've been praying for our Lord to reveal to me the things I've been neglecting & don't know it ... I've sensed something off, and suspected I've been negligent because I've been scopelocked so long on *that* sin. Now that I'm not suffering major temptations ... can open, worms everywhere ...

    Garrigou-Lagrange: we'll never exhaust that fantabulous work of his.

  6. That Garrigou-LaGrange quote is a scary one. I am slothful and sluggish all the time because I am always thinking that there must be so many things God hates about me. Sure, I avoid the big sins with God's grace, but I must just be festering with little things or maybe even big things.

    Servus - all that consecration stuff ... I am so afraid of it all because I want to be married - I either want my wife to return to me, or if my marriage is proven to be invalid, to find the one whom God intends for me to marry.

    I'm afraid because if were consecrated in such a way, I imagine it would mean I no longer have any uh, desires at all, or at least see all sexual attraction and desire as sinful. How could I marry someone, how could I be sexually attracted to someone, without being impure? How could I be married an enjoy the pleasures of marriage bed?

    This is the same reason why I am afraid of wearing a scapular or wouldn't want my wife to - I could never imagine looking at my wife in an erotic way, or not being totally overwhelmed by feelings of impurity while being intimate with her.

    If Mary is purer than the Angels and had a marriage entirely devoid of such things, it would seem to me at least that being close to her would be to be repulsed by such things.

    I do not see how devotion to Christ, or especially to Mary, could go along with a life of marital intimacy, unless such intimacy was always indulged with feelings of guilt.

    And so, I go on, a life of shitty prayer, meager charity, never ever knowing God.

    Here I am, hijacking Terry's post again.

  7. Mercury, total consecration to Jesus through Mary has nothing to do with whether one is single or married. We are all called to holiness. If there is anything that I gleaned from Vatican II it is just that. All are called to holiness. We can and are called to be holy in whatever state of life married, single, religious or priesthood. Total consecration means simply that you give your life totally to Our Lord through His holy mother that you hold nothing back: all your hopes, dreams, sorrows, joys, disappointments, anxieties ALL THAT YOU ARE....ALL THAT YOU HAVE EVER BEEN...ALL THAT YOU WILL EVER BE...

    Total consecration to JESUS through MARY is something that you can do now. I would urge anyone reading this blog to take that challenge.

    Maybe you misunderstand what this means? Consecrating your eyes, mouth, ears, heart and entire self to Our Lady every day simply says that you wish to keep yourself pure. Having natural desire for your wife is not impure as long as that is open to life.

  8. Servus - it's totally because I misunderstand it, and misunderstand it badly, I do.

    I really truly cannot think of purity as anything other than complete abhorrence at sexual attraction desire, or intimacy. It seems, reading the saints, that purity = puritanism. I don't want to be like St. Aloysius Gonzaga who wouldn't even look at women at all or touch his own mother. I don't want to see every beautiful woman as a dangerous piece of sin uranium.

    If a man meets a woman and is attracted to her, and they date and decide to marry, obviously, at some level, he has sexual desire for her. Isn't this "evil" according to the Church? He obviously wants to sleep with someone who is not (yet) his wife, otherwise, he wouldn't want to marry her (not that that is the only motivation but that's besides the point).

    This has everything to do with my inability or unwillingness to understand purity for what it really is, and not to do with Jesus or His Mother.

    And what can I entrust? I have no hopes, no dreams. I don't want to be a priest or a monk - perhaps that makes me selfish. I just want to be a married man with a happy family and a decent job. So mediocre.

  9. Mercury,

    I assume your state in life right now is married even though that also is in flux? So for now your goal is still to be chaste according to your state in life just like me or any of us. You can look at a woman and admire her beauty and thank God for her beauty but not lust after her. When I see physical beauty I thank God for that and I pray for that person's soul. I don't pretend to know your situation but I guess I would pray that God's will be done in the situation. You can consecrate your situation as it is right now and give that to Jesus through Mary that it be brought to a happy issue. There are no impossible situations with God. Offer your difficulties to Jesus through Mary. When you go to Holy Mass place all of your aspirations for a happy married life on the paten with the host and ask offer all your life to GOD the Father with Jesus.

    Rightly ordered sexual desire for one's spouse is not evil as long as it is open to life. So what keeps you from a happy married life now?

  10. Thanks, Servus.

    What keeps me from that is the fact that my wife is divorcing me. The German process is thank God not as easy as the American one, but the divorce should be going through this month. I am also in the process of filling out the paperwork for annulment.

    The impetus for this all had to do with a desire to be faithful to Church teaching on contraception. For a while, she was willing to learn about NFP (we were in a pretty tight financial situation), but in Germany could find no support whatsoever besides me.

    Thank you, your confidence is inspiring. I will take your words with me to Mass tomorrow

    "Rightly ordered sexual desire for one's spouse is not evil as long as it is open to life."

    I'd say that the Church's position is not that it is not evil, but that it is in fact good, and a gift from God.

    I am guessing "open to life" does not specifically mean "want a child at this moment", but rather that nothing should ever be done to hinder new life. Otherwise, we'd have to say that desire during pregnancy, old age, or NFP for valid reasons is evil, and clearly it is not.


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