Friday, May 30, 2008

"I do what I hate"

1) Eucharistic Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church.

2) DC ‘Hood vs. Holy Redeemer, tonight, 6 pm. Last game of the season!
In response to my May 7 post, “Consecrate them in the truth”, Anon wrote the following: “Maybe I’m stuck on semantics, but, my first though when I read ‘so many are burdened by the slavery of sin” was, yahoo! I’m free. Doesn’t being captive or being a slave of something or someone remove the responsibility of one’s actions? I see slavery as a state of existence that is totally out of a person’s control. Sins may be committed, but the slave is not responsible for them. Or, in order not to be held responsible for their sin, does the slave have to hold onto their beliefs, even at the risk of a vicious beating or death? I know we are responsible for our reaction or choice when we are confronted with a sin. I’m wondering if the concept “slavery to sin” is meant to be interpreted in the context that we will always be slaves to sin because of the original sin Adam and Eve committed? Would you mind clarifying the intent? Thanks.”

Thanks, Anon. What you write about the institution of slavery is also true for “slavery of sin”. Once someone is in the slavery of sin in particular ways, then it “is totally out of a person’s control”. On their own, they are powerless over sin. This has been the human condition from the beginning (Adam and Eve, original sin). As St. Paul writes, “I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate…Now if I do what I what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:15, 20).

However, there is a difference: slavery of sin involves a choice on some level on the part of the individual. As the Catechism teaches, “The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to ‘the slavery of sin’ (Rom 6:17). The original choice of someone who is a slave of sin is the choice to disobey (God’s law). The person is not intentionally choosing slavery, but the reality of the choice of evil on any level is that it “leads to” slavery. Whether or not this choice is fully informed or fully free, it is a personal choice on the part of the individual. So, there is moral responsibility (culpability) on the part of the slave of sin. I guess this takes us from ‘yahoo!’ to ‘d’oh!’.

Here are some Scriptural passages which speak to us about the power of sin and that we are set free from the chains of sin by Christ Jesus:

- “Direct my steps according to thy word; and let no iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119)
- “For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins” (Wis 1:4)
- “everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin” (Jn 8:34)
- “the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32)
- “Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 7:24-25)


At 12:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr, Greg rarely comments on the results of the DC Hood games (at least on this blog). So, for those of you who have never taken your child to a game- look for info next season. It’s a great experience for your children to see their priests as they look at themselves- competitive, full of life, ready to play.

I had the privilege of going to the game with a group of kids who were so excited to be there. I ended-up with one of my younger children who wasn’t originally supposed to be there, but she was really happy to be there. At one point, she told one of the girls from Holy Redeemer (who was nicely chatting up a storm with her), after she heard Fr. Greg’s name announced as someone who had just scored a point, she said, “That’s the Fr. Greg at MY church!” Later in the evening, she thought to get involved with some of the fun play after the game and bopped “FG” on the head with a rolled up seminarians’ poster- except when “FG” turned around, she realized she hit the wrong man. She told me, “I was sooo embarrassed! I hit the wrong FG. I hit the old one instead of the real one.” I saw what happened- poor Fr. Coan, by a 5 yr old, he’s been relegated to the status of “old,” in comparison to OUR Fr. Greg (who’s not that young, btw).

Thank you to all the priests and seminarians who dedicated their time, talent and energy to create something so much fun and interactive for our families. The example you have set has not gone unnoticed; the children who go to your games regularly show character above their age level when playing their sports. I’ve had referees comment on their sportsmanship and conduct. It’s not coincidental. For these kids, the Hail Mary isn’t a last chance effort to throw the ball at last second to score- it’s a before game, half-time, pre-overtime prayer for guidance and strength. You all have helped to teach our children so well! It is much appreciated. Thank you for a fun season!

At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” John 8:34-36

As sons of God, we have a rightful place in His house. When we give in to sin, when we exercise the habits and ways that are wrong for us, we are actually giving away our “inheritance.” It’s like welcoming someone into your home to take what is rightfully yours. That’s how Satan works, as a thief who uses temptation to steal us away. It’s challenging to resist temptation. I know I have been more accustomed to submitting to my own will than allowing myself to be led by the Spirit’s.

Fr. Greg briefly spoke the other day about obedience being the hardest part of being a priest (as opposed to what most would commonly think the hardest part- celibacy), but obedience is necessary for all of us (and really hard for most of us). I think it’s only when we exercise it will we learn to submit and be truly free.


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