March 3, 2012

The posts this week have been dedicated to meditating on our sinfulness. By and large, it is not a subject that we like to think about too often. The Jesuit philosopher Bernard Lonergan wrote of the concept of a “flight from understanding.” With certain subjects, we simply overlook them because they are uncomfortable. We would rather not have the answer, and so we do not ask the question. This week, we have not only asked ourselves about the “big stuff,” like a knock-down drag-out fight with a close friend. We have been asking ourselves about little sins, tepidity, and how it fits into our own lives. ┬áVery often, these are the main issues that cause us discomfort to the point where we flee from understanding. It is easy to beat your breast and declare that you had a fight with a friend. It is much harder to admit that you simply didn’t show as much love as you could have. Yet frequently, our sin is not that we decide to do some great and obvious evil Instead, our sins are usually because the great good we are called to seems like too much work. As C.S. Lewis put it, we choose a lesser good over God not out of malice, but because we are “like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud-pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea.” Or, we commit smaller sins throughout the day–making uncharitable wisecracks, cutting corners here and there, etc. Sins so small that we tell ourselves (not without reason) that they don’t matter very much, and we can give them up whenever we wish. Yet the sins that don’t matter suddenly matter a great deal when push comes to shove and we are actually asked to change. These are the sins that we need special help in understanding–the ones that are much harder to notice and much easier to rationalize.

In spite of the temptation to flee from understanding, we are called to understand our sins and their roots in order to change. Though we are tempted to flight, we are called to be uncomfortable as we look at our actions. This discomfort increases when we think to the meditation from Monday, that concluded with a conversation with Jesus while on the Cross, reflecting us back to ourselves. In spite of our sins, Jesus still wishes to come to us, to show us the depths of our sinfulness and the heights to which we are called. While going through a repetition from this weeks prayers, this one fact should be remembered. Knowing our sins, Jesus does not come to condemn us, but to share His knowledge with us to help us reform our lives, and put an end to our flight from understanding. With this in mind, go back over one of the meditations from this week in amazement, both at the newly-realized depths of our sinfulness, and the newly-realized depth of Jesus’ love in the midst of that sinfulness.

March 3rd, 2012