This Week's Reflection
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 516: Own It: Reflection on Gen 3:1-6
Now the snake was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?”
The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’”
But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!
God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.-Gen 3:1-6
Isn’t it something how easily we can talk ourselves into sin? God gave Adam and Eve ONE commandment; “Don’t touch that tree!”
They rationalized “Well, THAT tree is good for food..”
In the Garden of Eden, ALL the trees are good for food! “
It looks really good.”
EVERYTHING in Eden looks good, because everything in Eden was the way God intended it!
“I really would like to be wise.”
Then do what God TOLD you to do! Obeying God is at the heart of wisdom.
If there’s ONE thing we’ve ALL inherited from our first parents, it’s our ability to talk ourselves into sin. I hear it in confession all the time. People try to rationalize their sins away. “Well Father I did this, but it wasn’t really my fault, because of this circumstance, and that circumstance...”
To this I say, “If it wasn’t your fault, why are you confessing it? If it wasn’t your fault, there’s no sin involved. You can’t accidentally sin. You’re confessing it, because deep down you KNOW it’s your fault! So STOP making excuses! You screwed up! Own it.” And I say that to people because owning one’s sins is a healthy thing to do.
If we keep making excuses for our sins, we’ll NEVER get rid of them. We’ll just keep inventing new rationalizations for them. I realize sin is embarrassing, especially when it’s a habitual sin, but the only way we break free from these sins to OWN them! No excuses. I screwed up! I did it! It was MY decision and MY choice! I knew it was wrong, and I did it ANYWAY, and because of that, I need God’s Grace if I have ANY hope of not doing it again! That’s good, that’s healthy, and that’s the only way we can ever hope to overcome sin.
Own it, confess it, trust in God’s mercy, pray for God’s grace, and stop attempting to justify bad behavior. -Fr. Michael Anthony Sisco
Quote from a Saint
If the monk does not think in his heart that he is a sinner, God will not hear him. The brother said, ‘What does that mean to think in his heart that he is a sinner?’ Then the old man said, ‘When someone is occupied with his own faults, he does not see those of his neighbor.’ -Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Abba Moses
O HOLY LORD, almighty FATHER, eternal GOD! through thy liberality and that of thy SON, who for me endured suffering and death, through the surpassing holiness of His Mother, and through the merits of blessed Francis, and of all the saints, grant me, a sinner, undeserving of all thy benefits, that I may love Thee alone, and always thirst for thy love; that I may constantly feel in my heart the benefit of thy Passion; that I may acknowledge my misery, and desire to be trampled upon and despised by all men; that nothing but sin may sadden my heart. Amen. -Prayer of St. Bonaventure
Questions for Reflection
What sins are you most likely to rationalize away? (reflect on this for a minute, but share only if you feel comfortable)
Why are you most tempted to rationalize these sins?
Can you think of any instances where someone tried to rationalize sin to you? Describe how this person attempted to do this.
Our culture tries to tell us that we are perfect just the way we are. How is this in contrast to acknowledging our sins?
Give several examples of how our culture rationalizes sin. What dangers come from each of these examples?
Give examples of how our culture makes sin seem attractive or even necessary. What dangers come from each of these?
How does rationalizing sin deaden us spiritually?
Can those who rationalize sin grow spiritually? Give reasons for your response.
Why is it necessary to own our sins in order to overcome them?
Why don’t we see our neighbor’s faults if we acknowledge our own?
If we are seeing faults in our neighbor, what does that say about ourselves?
Why will God not hear us if we do not think in our hearts that we are sinners?
What does Jesus have to say in the Gospels about acknowledging our sinfulness?
Why should nothing but sin sadden our hearts?
Why do you think St. Bonaventure suggests we should desire to be trampled upon and despised by all men? -Erin Wells