Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Making Sins from Dust

There are some topics that aren't talked about much in traditional Catholicism. We become so accustomed to avoiding things, that we sometimes forget the positive aspect of the Faith. What I mean to talk about in this article is the topic of the occasion of sin (I will be using purity between people courting as an example). We see the good in staying pure, and keeping from the occasion of sin, that we forget there are many dangers to becoming scrupulous in this aspect.

Before I begin, let me just summarize what an occasion of sin is. The occasion of sin is when we place ourselves in danger of committing sin, and this occasion must be avoided. For example, being completely alone with the person we are courting is an occasion of sin for impurity. But sometimes occasions cannot be avoided, like walking into a grocery store and seeing the worldly magazines. We must do our best not to have impure thoughts because of these magazines, but we aren't going to stop going to the store because of it. (I will in the future focus more on the topic of what an occasion of sin is)  But some scrupulous souls begin to worry so desperately about the occasion of sin, that they place themselves in a different situation to offend God.

Let us say a couple who are courting are holding hands before marriage, perhaps a kiss on the cheek. We see them across the restaurant and think, "How could they possibly do this in public, and place not only themselves, but all of us in the occasion of sin?!" I understand people have different principles concerning this, but if we begin pointing and picking at the people we see, as well as worrying about every detail in our relationship, the ropes become too tight and we start being prone to other sins. Either we will crack from the pressure and leave the Faith, or become so frozen with scrupulosity, that our souls are unable to move and live a good Catholic life. We must place our principles firmly before us, use every mean to stay pure, and never forget to be humble. The proud man says, I am holy, I will not hold hands until marriage! The humble man says, God please keep me pure in all that I do. Let our hands held together be in Thy presence as an act of our love to you, and let our minds be pure in all that we do.

If we try hard enough, we can make anything into a sin. But God never intended our minds to work in the negative, rather He desires for our hearts to shine with His goodness and love. He wants us to avoid the occasion of sin so we can enjoy all the beauties in life without fear and anxiety. And if you want to save holding hands and putting your arms around each other for marriage, I won't judge you. But when I see a soul completely paralyzed, unable to look up into her beloved's eyes for fear of sin, I cannot help but think there is another side to the occasion of sin.

If the Devil cannot get you to sin impurely, he will tempt you to despair. Trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ, avoid the obvious, but be not afraid to rejoice in the goodness He has given us. Because Heaven will not be us always saying no, but yes, just as He intended.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

I Don't Feel like Being Catholic Today

Let's admit it, some days we don't want to be Catholic. We don't feel like praying, thinking of God becomes tiresome, and the thought of sanctifying our souls seems like way too much work. But what do we do in these times? And can God do anything with the days we don't feel near to Him?

Closer than we think - On the days we feel nothing, God is doing the most. Oftentimes trials can be easier to offer up (since the sacrifice is evident), but the feeling of indifference can be more meritorious a lot of times. It is as if God is hiding behind a tree, waiting to see if we'll put our crosses down and take a nap, or go searching for Him. And if we do in fact keep going and persevere, how Our Lord will enthusiastically embrace us in His arms and rejoice at the love we have for Him!

Doing what we can - When these times do come, simply continue to do your daily duty, say your regular prayers and try not to dwell too much on the fact that you feel this way. The Devil will try to say, "Think at how mean God is to be leaving you out in the cold like this! Oh, and how holy you are for doing this favour for Him!" Pride is always the first vice that is sewn into our souls, so focus on what you need to do, and all your needs will be met - God never stops caring for us.

New devotions - Another great way of breaking out feeling of indifference and dryness is trying out new devotions. I don't mean beginning a million devotions at once (refer to my article on "Keeping Devotions Simple" on the CFN page), making it impossible to keep up, but maybe read up more on the promises of the Holy Face or the promises of the Precious Blood. Sometimes sticking to a lot of the same prayers can get tedious, so mix it up and make things interesting! Catholicism was never meant to be boring.

Finally have hope, and know that these times will pass. Every trial leads to a reward, and every step leads us to eternal happiness and peace in heaven. God bless and Our Lady protect you all!