Sin No Laughing Matter… But Is THIS How To Teach Cleverly About Purity?

 

Comment: 

It’s nearly impossible not to see the funny side of much of Jason’s talk.  Easy to see why teenagers would thoroughly enjoy his lectures. Still,  certain “givens” cause concern; should Catholics be accepting of, for example, “dating” in High School?  That’s just one of many reservations which I have about the above speaker but, hey, I can be something of a prude compared to what most people think is normal and harmless these days. And Jason is very likeable – we have to give him that.  Students will love him.  No question about it. 

A teacher friend responded to my concerns by emailing: I stand by the Jason Evert material because he gets through to the pupils in their idiom while remaining faithful to Christ.  His personal struggle with lust and his conversion are a good example to them.

I tend to think that clear teaching about Original Sin, which has caused us to have a particular weakness or inclination to commit sexual sin, ought to cancel the need for explicit personal examples, but, as I say, I  may be out on a limb with this one.

So, let’s have YOUR opinion, as parents, teachers, or simply Joe & Josephine Bloggs.  Key question:  would you be happy if your children – early teenagers or university students – were present at this kind of talk/lesson?

And remember to give reason(s) for your answer 😀   

How often must I apologise? 70 times 7? 

  Every Christian knows that when Our Lord was asked how often we should forgive those who offend us, He replied “not seven times, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).  In other words, always. Never refuse to forgive. 

However, what about apologies?  Most people struggle to apologise for anything because it means admitting they were wrong about something, or insensitive, unkind to others.  Sadly, that seems to be the norm. Just don’t apologise! But what about those who DO apologise and find their apology either spurned or ignored… Some people prefer to “apologise in kind” – by, for example, offering a small gift, or by some means other than directly saying “sorry”.  Does that count as an apology? And what about those rejected or ignored apologies… should they be repeated indefinitely until reconciliation has taken place? 

We ought, in this thread, to reflect on the root cause of both the inability to forgive wrongs perpetrated against us, and – the other side of that coin – the inability to apologise for inflicting wrongs on others.  Is it true to argue that it is sinful pride which causes us to be unforgiving and unrepentant – or, at least, if not unrepentant, unwilling to admit to the person we’ve hurt that we know we are in the wrong?  Or is there some other reason for our inability or unwillingness to apologise – and do we have to apologise seventy times seven – or is once sufficient? 

The following quotes from saints about the sin of pride are offered to help kick-start the discussion – and feel free to add your own favourite quotes and sermons from the saints, since this thread is chiefly intended to help us move forward in our spiritual life, as we begin this new year.  Nobody stands still in the spiritual life, remember; we either go forward or back.

QUOTES FROM SAINTS…

You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy – the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud… The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.  Saint Vincent de Paul

A truly humble person never believes that he can be wronged in anything. Truly, we ought to be shamed to resent whatever is said or done against us; for it is the greatest shame in the world to see that our Creator bears so many insults from His creatures, and that we resent even a little word that is contradictory.  St. Teresa

It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. Saint Augustine

Suicide – The Inconsolable Sin? 

Editor writes…

A reader – we’ll call him Mark (not his real name) – emailed the following short article for publication.  We’re withholding his real name out of consideration for the young suicide, Shaun (also not his real name).

From the Catholic Encyclopaedia:

Positive and direct suicide perpetrated without God’s consent always constitutes a grave injustice towards Him. To destroy a thing is to dispose of it as an absolute master and to act as one having full and independent dominion over it; but man does not possess this full and independent dominion over his life, since to be an owner one must be superior to his property. God has reserved to himself direct dominion over life; He is the owner of its substance and He has given man only the serviceable dominion, the right of use, with the charge of protecting and preserving the substance, that is, life itself. Consequently suicide is an attempt against the dominion and right of ownership of the Creator. Source

Mark writes…

I found out today that a young man I know, Shaun, had died. Given that he was only in his early twenties, I was shocked and the first thing I asked was, “What on earth happened?” The facial expression of the person who had broken the news to me said it all. He had committed suicide.

Suicide is something that often occupies my thoughts. Not in the sense that I’ve considered it myself, quite the opposite in fact. I’m at a complete loss as to how someone could get to the point where they don’t want to live. My grandfather committed suicide many years ago. Some of the boys I went to school with did too. Now, a boy l have known for many years has chosen to end his life. We don’t know why. How his family feel right now I can’t even imagine. What a waste of a life!

Quite recently, British soap “Coronation Street” was praised for raising awareness of male suicide when it ran a storyline involving the suicide of a popular male character. We are told that more must be done to encourage young men to talk about their feelings. We must remove the stigma of mental ill-health, the experts declare. When talking with a friend about the awful news I received today, they suggested that we should do more to promote a growth mindset. Although I don’t necessarily disagree with any of these suggestions, I also have a different view which I hope to explore in this short reflection.

We all endure difficulties in life. Family troubles, relationship issues, money worries and health problems, to name but a few. Many of us experience bouts of low mood and even depression. However, to contemplate and attempt suicide is different. What could possibly lead someone to that dark precipice where death is the only answer? I don’t know. This is the key question I’m asking myself tonight through my shock and grief.

I can’t help but wonder if rejection of God plays a part. Shaun was Catholic and as a child had a strong devotion to St Joseph. However, in his teenage years, Shaun drifted from the Faith and even promoted the LGBT agenda. I’ve now idea if he was homosexual himself. What’s clear is that although, as far as I’m aware, Shaun never made any declaration that he had rejected God, his actions suggest that he had. Is there a connection here? I think there is.

I often wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t believe in God and didn’t adhere to the Catholic Faith. The thought terrifies me. Although I’m by no means a model Catholic and often neglect my religious duties, faith in God keeps me sane. There’s something to live for! The promise of Heaven and eternal life with God sheds light even on the darkest of days. Without faith, without the Catholic Church, I would have nothing. Would life be worth living? On a purely human level, perhaps. Lying in bed until midday on a Sunday, eating steak and chips on a Friday and never having to worry about Commandments morning might allow me to sink into a pleasure-filled cesspit. However, lying in bed at night and realising how short life is would surely terrify me.

Did Shaun believe in God? Did he believe that God is his loving Father? Did he believe he had a soul? Did he know that his soul was made in the image and likeness of God? How COULD he believe all this and still do what he did?

Right now, I find myself thinking about where Shaun’s soul is now. I know the Church’s teaching on suicide. It’s a mortal sin. Is there any hope for those who commit suicide? If there’s mental illness involved, can the person have full knowledge and/or consent? How can someone commit suicide and NOT be mentally ill? I don’t know if there are definitive answers.

Comment:

How, then, should we  pray for those who have committed suicide?  Gut Catholic instinct suggests entrusting the soul to Our Lady’s motherly love, but please feel free to share your own thoughts, devotions, quotes, videos and prayers to console Shaun’s family and the families of all those who have taken their own lives, unless, that is, you believe it is impossible to console anyone suffering the loss of a friend or family member as a result of suicide – IS suicide “the inconsolable sin”?     

Who’s right – the Gospels or YouGov?

HellquoteOne of our Glasgow readers, George (his real name!) sent me a copy of a letter he had submitted to the Daily Mail, in response to their article Oh hell – it’s the least that we deserve, by Jonathan Brocklebank, September, 11, 2015.

The article is a commentary on a YouGov poll which “shows significantly more guilty consciences in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, with 14 per cent admitting their sins merit damnation.” Only “10 per cent of people in the rest of the UK think Satan’s furnaces should await them in the afterlife.”  [Ed: and before our English readers jump to the wrong conclusion – this has nothing to do with the independence referendum 😀 ]

I’ve been unable to find a link to the article online (not having a Facebook , Google or Twitter account) but the reader who sent me his unpublished letter also enclosed a copy of the article, so here are a few quotes from it.  You can study the YouGov poll here

The YouGov survey revealed that: “…despite Scots’ dimmer view of their own moral virtue, they are less afraid of death than those in the rest of Britain. They are also less likely to believe in the afterlife…”  The survey asked: ‘If there were a heaven and a hell, which would you end up in?” The article continues:  “Among Scots, 48 per cent believed they would pass through the Pearly Gates – in line with the UK average.  The proportion willing to admit they deserved the other place was surprisingly high – a finding which one minister said might be explained by Scots’ cultural Calvinism placing greater weight on sin.” [Ed: Well, it sure ain’t because they’re hearing  thunderous sermons on Hell  in Catholic parishes. ]

Below is our reader’s letter to the Daily Mail:  he is disappointed it was not selected for publication, so it will be pleasing to be able to let him know that we published it here and discussed the very good points contained therein…

George’s Letter to the Daily Mail…

Dear Sir,

I found the results of the YouGov survey on “would you end up in Heaven or Hell?” fascinating and most revealing.

As it happens, I had been reading about the forthcoming centenary of the apparitions, in 1917, at Fatima where Lucy, one of the three seers, when asked this same question later in life said: “Taking into account the behaviour of mankind, only a small part of the human race will be saved.”

This seems to agree with many of the saints who answered “that most people will end up in Hell.”  Indeed, Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that “few” are saved and enter by what He called “the narrow gate.”

All this runs counter to the YouGov results, e.g. 52% of Londoners believed they were “heaven bound”. As for views on “fearing death” when only 16% of those surveyed said that “death scared them” we know that St Paul said that we all should approach death and the final judgment with “fear and trembling.”

All this “doom” seems to be at loggerheads with comments from the majority of the clergy over the last half-century, saying that “most, if not all of us will go to Heaven.” Seldom a mention of Hell.

Could they be guilty of  genuine heresy?  Perhaps another YouGov poll is needed. 

Yours etc.

Comments invited

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima – Reflect…

Christopher Ferrara…

“I have said it before, and I will say it again: in the entire history of the Catholic Church there has never been a Pope like this. With Francis we seem to be nearing the end of a trajectory whose fearful arc was predicted nearly a century ago in the Third Secret of Fatima. As that centenary approaches, we can only regard the year 2017 with increasing dread, mitigated only by the hope that God will see fit to give Our Lady a miraculous victory over the madness that afflicts so much of the human element of the Church today.”   Read entire article here

Comment

We give honour to Our Lady on this Feast of Fatima, and pray especially for the Pope and Church today.  There is plenty of food for thought in the article by Christopher Ferrara – so comments welcome on that, as we exchange Feast Day greetings, in gratitude for Our Lady’s warning of the diabolical disorientation to come in our times. Without the Message of Fatima, many of us would be finding our faith sorely stretched, to the point of being intolerable,  today.

In that spirit, allow me to wish all our bloggers and readers a very Happy Feast! 

And The Greatest Of These Is Charity…

“Let us consider the Eighth Commandment, not least within the context of today’s digital age. The Ten Commandments make explicit the natural law written into every human heart. They tell us to love God (Commandments One to Three) and to love our neighbour (Commandments Four to Ten). The Eighth Commandment says this: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”9 In other words, we must exercise discretion, respect others and their privacy, and not engage in slander, gossip and rash judgment. We must avoid calumny, that is, slurring and damaging people, and not spread abroad their sins and failings. 10 How do I use Facebook or Twitter? Am I charitable when blogging? Do I revel in other people’s failings? All this is grave matter. Yet when we think of our news media and TV, in which fallen celebrities are pilloried, reputations shredded and people’s sins exposed, it sometimes seems our popular culture thrives on breaking this Commandment.”  Click on photo of Bishop Egan to read his Lenten Pastoral Letter in full.

And then, focusing on his remarks about social media, we might consider whether or not blogging – by its nature –  leads to lack of charity, and hence to sin against the eighth commandment. Share your practical tips on how to avoid lack of charity in blogging…

Image