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Saturday, March 21, 2015

No, Seriously: God Loves You

Call me a hippie, but I seriously don't think we talk about this enough. Some people think the problem in the American Catholic Church is that we talk too much about it, that we should talk about sin more. Well, that's true also. The reason we don't talk about sin is that we don't talk about God's love.

God is Love. God is immutable--that is, unchanging--and what He unchangingly is, is Love. When the Sacred Scriptures say, "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God," what they mean is that we do not love as God does. There are a million different ways to botch it up, but at the end of the day, that's the story. In another way, we can't love the way God does, because He is supernatural Love, and we are but creatures; we're just people. That's why we need grace. Grace is the favor of God, and the presence of God living in us to do what we cannot do: love supernaturally. We cannot love God in the way we are supposed to, unless He brings us to His level, so to speak. Yes, we absolutely need forgiveness, but the only way we are seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, as St. Paul tells us and the Ephesians, is grace.

I'm gonna just shoot it straight: Some people have just enough knowledge and wisdom to scare the Hell into themselves. Here's the truth: Sin is nothing more and nothing less than the opposite of supernatural Love. If we find that we are sinners--and this is what we always find--we should think, "I must be meant for a great destiny, if I am aware of falling so short. God must really love me!" It's by grace that we know this! The grace of repentance is a grace. On this side, wicked sinners seldom hate God; they are indifferent. Listen to the priest. There might be somebody--or a great many somebodys--who are presuming upon the mercy of God. Fair enough. But if you're in the Confession line weekly, (or close) this isn't you.

I am convinced more and more each day that we really do need this New Evangelization we've been talking about. There are dozens of people walking down the streets of our parishes, who think that Sunday is a Funday, who don't necessarily think they owe God anything, much less see also their debt of sin. If I had the authority, by contrast, I would forbid all scrupulous people from reading or speaking about mortal sin for a month (or more). Without God who is Love, all other things are meaningless.

2 comments:

Amos Long said...

JK,

You bring up several good points about our culture and contemporary American Christianity. However, I didn't catch the connection between the problem and solution. How would forbidding "scrupulous people from reading or speaking about mortal sin" bring about a greater awareness of the immensity of God's love, our inability to love by our own power, and our need for God's grace to empower us?

Jason said...

Amos,

Let me take a moment to once more extend my appreciation for your taking the time to comment. You are at present my most frequent commenter.

What I meant by the statements you asked about was simply this: Scrupulous people by definition are fearful and self-focused. The end-point of unchecked scrupulosity is despair, a belief that a particular batch of sins renders oneself unlovable and beyond God's mercy. Let it not be taken as a denial of the possibility of mortal sin, but that God's love is greater.