Triple Sin (45 – 54) Preparatory Prayer = short and quick, but very important 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sins
. There is a God; we have a soul made for God. We must be indifferent to things so they help me to save my soul. If you were to see your father beaten with sticks and slashed by knife wounds, would you not run to his defense? Would it not be a crime to watch your own father being thus treated, while you looked on with complete indifference? Would I not be the greatest criminal in the world if I did not try to avert the crimes which men perpetrate against God, who is my Father? O my Father, I will defend Thee though it cost me my life! I will embrace Thee, and say to sinners: "You have wounded my God enough." "It is enough," as St. Augustine said. Stop, sinners, stop! Do not scourge my heavenly Father more by your sins. You have lashed Him enough, and have torn open far too many wounds. If you do not wish to stop, lash me, for I indeed have deserved it. But do not outrage or maltreat my God, my Father, and my Love any more! O my Love, my God, my Love! --St. Anthony Mary Claret Introduction a. First Prelude – See soul as a prisoner of corruptible body and as a composite living among brute beasts Make a mental image of the place. This is a means to avoid distractions, the background of the meditation. We are mortal beings, therefore we will die. Sin is the death of the soul, a corruption of the soul. My immortal soul is in this corruptible body. Adam was destined to live forever. “By one man sin entered the world, and by sin death.” Now we will all die. We are on this earth, rightly called a “valley of tears.” Ecône is in the Rhone River valley. It begins as a trickle and becomes a raging torrent. We are in the “valley of tears.” The cause of the tears was one little tear, and now because of our sins it is a valley of tears. Among brutes, i.e., ignorant, irrational animals. Sin is a brutal, irrational action. Second Prelude: Ask for shame and confusion for my sins. An ever increasing and intense sorrow and tears for our sins. Sin is the big obstacle to the salvation of my soul. Sin is the only obstacle to sanctity. We want to have some understanding of what sin is. The Catholic Church alone has the proper picture of things. Only the Catholic Church understands man’s purpose in the world. Almighty God has a plan for creation. You are part of that plan. We are free. God doesn’t force us to follow His plan. We try to tell Almighty God a better way. Men trying to tell Almighty God the rules. We cannot do a better job then God does. What is sin? Modern man teaches that there is no sin. The concept of sin that the Saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Lord had is incomprehensible to our generation. Men do not understand. Sin is an offence against Almighty God. It is a disorder against Almighty God and it will be punished with an eternal hell. Sin has eternal consequences. a. Soul in sin Soul in grace Hell-bound, turned away from his end Heaven bound, fulfilling its end Rejection of God & His order Submission to God, in harmony w/Him Ugly, unhappy, unholy, selfish Beautiful, happy, holy, true love b. By sin, we lose God, Heaven, happiness, peace, everything, even our free will. Suffering and other temporal evils, on the other hand, can take none of these from us. Sin is the greatest evil!! World: That is evil which is contrary to my will. Church: Only that is evil which is contrary to God’s will. 1 I.
I offer you two things. On one side, we have an eternity of happiness, the fulfillment of your very being, the reason for your creation, the highest that you can attain; you just have to submit to an order which is for your own good and undergo various trials and tribulations that you would have to undergo anyway. On the other hand, we have a momentary pleasure to serve self; it passes and leaves you empty, with a bad habit formed, with a desire, a longing to do it again, which in turn will create a stronger urge until you can no longer control yourself. You are alienated from your God, from your fellow humans, from the angels and saints. You are subjected to Satan and his minions, and an eternity in the fires of Hell. First Point – The sin of the fallen angels. St. Ignatius wants us to apply our memory, our intellect and our will to each of the points of the meditation. We use the powers of our soul. These are spiritual exercises. Angels are pure spirits, free from the bonds of a body. They have no needs of the body to worry about. They do not need to provide themselves with food, clothing or shelter. They are the most perfect works of God’s creation. Their intelligence is far more powerful than human intelligence. We are obliged to reason, angels know thinks intuitively and instantly. They were made good. God gave them innocent upright wills, with a powerful inclination toward good. On the contrary, because of Original Sin, we have an inclination toward evil. They were created with sanctifying grace and capable of knowing and loving God. Lucifer was their chief. Lucifer had the greatest and most perfect nature that God created. The prophet Ezechiel describes him: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day of thy creation until iniquity was found in thee.” These noble spirits had liberty. God gave them a trial. The reward was to be the beatific vision. To know and love God as He is in Himself. What the trial was is disputed. St. Bonaventure says that they became dazzled by their own perfection, and that their sin was a kind of idolatry of themselves. St. Thomas teaches that God revealed to them the future grandeur of the Incarnation, and had commanded them to adore the God-Man; and their crime was a resistance to this command of God. Lucifer was the first to raise the standard of rebellion; he declared himself a rival of God, and he drew a third of the angels into his rebellion. Consider the circumstances of his rebellion. 1. A sin of revolt against God. Your sins are also rebellions against God. 2. A sin committed in Heaven. “Thou wert in the delights of paradise, and thou did sin” (Exech. 28, 13-16). You are in the land of the saints on earth, in the Church of God, how many times have you committed sin. 3. A sin committed against great lights. He was full of wisdom, perfect in beauty and he sinned. And you have sinned against the brightest lights of faith. 4. A sin committed after great benefits received. Your sins are against your greatest benefactor. How ungrateful are you. 5. A sin of scandal. How many souls have your sins drawn down? Was this sin serious? Look at the reaction. The punishment was instantaneous. The justice of God strikes them like a thunderbolt. God created hell because of this sin! The cause is greater than the effect. How terrible is sin? Sin is a serious business. They were cast into the depths of hell and in the midst of flames to be punished for eternity for the crime of a moment. A terrible revolution took place in their whole being. In their intelligence no thoughts except for those of crime. In their will, a desire only for evil. Their only work is now to pervert or torment souls. Their destiny is supreme misery for eternity. How far did the fallen angels fall. Reflect on the justice of God. He has no regard for the number of the guilty. Millions of millions of angels were condemned to the fires of hell forever. God does 2
not respect persons. Lucifer’s great dignity did not prevent him from being punished. God’s justice does not regard the love He formerly had for Lucifer and his angels. His justice strikes without pity, yet it is the first sin of the angels and their only sin. SIN IS A GREATER EVIL THAN HELL! IT IS MORE TERRIBLE THAN HELL! Second Point – Adam and Eve. They were given at least the one commandment. Do not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat it you will die the death. God is God. Eve is tempted. She discusses with the devil. This is imprudence. Why did she listen to his lies? She sins. It was a sin of pride. You will be as gods. It was of course a lie. We will know everything and we will not need anyone. We can be independent. No, dad I don’t need you. I don’t need you Almighty God. Adam commits an ordinary kind of sin. He puts first things second and second things first. Eve is a better friend than Almighty God is. I love my wife more than I love you Almighty God. It was an ordinary simple kind of sin, of pride and of human respect. Adam did not want to correct Eve. Contempt of God was also involved. Adam knew that he was breaking God’s commandment and he did it anyway. It was a deliberate sin. He was not deceived by the devil. He knew that God had said, “The day you eat that fruit you will die the death.” He knew it was true. Yet he still ate the forbidden fruit. The torrent that flowed from this sin shows how horrible it was. 6000 years later we still suffer from it. The majority of mankind have died and gone to Hell because of this sin. This commandment of God was not difficult. Adam and Eve also had great intelligence; they were given great graces. They did not suffer from concupiscence or an inclination to evil. All these difficulties we have with spiritual things are a consequence of this sin. Adam was blind to the known truth. When you sin, are you not also blind? How many deliberate sins do we commit? Adam was deprived of grace and original justice. He had been a child of God; he became a child of wrath. The wounds of Original Sin struck his soul. His mind, which had been filled with great knowledge and lights, was now given up to doubts and uncertainty. His heart lost its inclination to good and was now obliged to struggle against his passions. His conscience had lost its innocence and its peace and is now tormented by remorse. These are the fruits of sin. The rebellion in nature: freezing cold, excessive heat, storms, the revolt of the animals, the sterility of the earth, which of itself produces only thorns and thistles. These are the fruits of sin. God’s anger poured vengeance for this sin on all of Adam’s descendants. Pestilence, famine, wars, crime, murders, violence, social miseries. These are the fruits of sin. Sickness and death are the fruits of sin. All this is the consequence of Adam’s sin! It doesn’t seem like that serious of a sin to us. Adam was told not to eat some fruit. He et it. How many times are children told not to eat something and they eat it? We consider it a little sin. Look at the consequences of Adam’s sin! Was it serious? It was most serious. Adam and Eve were obliged to do penance for 900 years for their sin. Adam sinned before Christ died on the cross for Him. Jesus Christ has proven His love for you. He became man for you. Are your sins serious? They most definitely are. All sin is serious. Sin is an offence against Almighty God. It is a misuse of creatures that is especially forbidden by Him. It is a great disorder in creation. SIN = a thought, word, deed or omission contrary to the law of God. God considers sin to be very serious indeed.
3rd Point – Consider a person who was condemned to Hell for one mortal sin. St. Ignatius is not making this up. There are souls in Hell who have committed only one serious sin. St. John Bosco in a vision saw a boy go to hell for one mortal sin. He never repented. There are other such stories in the lives of the saints. There is a story of a five year old boy who was condemned to hell after one mortal sin. Today they don’t have first confession before first communion, they claim that children cannot sin. This is not true. Any parent knows that their children can sin. Two and three year olds know when they have done something wrong. You can see the guilt in their cute little faces. There is a story of a very good boy. He committed one mortal sin, but was ashamed to confess it to his parish priest. He had a very good reputation. All of the people considered him to be a saint. He decided to join a monastery. He thought, when I join the monastery I will be asked to make a general confession. I will confess this sin then. However, his reputation preceded him to the monastery and he was never asked to make a general confession. He lived for years as a model monk and died. The monks considered him to have been a saint. Out of custom they were praying for him. He appeared to the abbot and said, “don’t pray for me. I am condemned to hell.” Out of pride he never confessed the one serious sin of his life. Years of being a model monk in a monastery did him no good. Why? He continually refused the grace of repentance. There are many souls in hell after only one mortal sin committed against God. People, who commit sin after sin, do not realise that one sin will be their last. Once a mortal sin is committed we do not know if we will ever return to the state of grace. I don’t want to even discuss the possibility of committing mortal sin. Eve considered the possibility. She discussed it with the serpent and she sinned. To discuss or consider committing sin is an evil. You just do not do that! We are not atheists. We do not mock God. We don’t judge Almighty God. The judgements of God are just, equitable and merciful. He punishes sinners less than they deserve. Lucifer’s sin was more evil than his punishment. He deserved worse. Adam’s sin was greater than the consequences that flowed from it. I. Punishment: damnation, evil inclinations, weakness of resistance, loss of all merit, reason obscured, no friendship with God! Sin is foul, enslaving, the greatest evil! Colloquy – with Our Lord on the Cross What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I to do for Christ? I. Speak with Our Lord on the cross. He is creator of all, yet He becomes man to save me. Sin matters; it is very grave! He loves us immeasurably to go so far to save us. We are nothing without Him. What am I doing in return? i. What have I done for Christ? ii. What am I doing for Christ? iii. What should I do for Christ? Speak as a servant to his master, begging forgiveness, resolving to amend. Promise to love Him more than all; ask for perseverance, for the grace to love Him.