Thursday, July 14, 2011

There But for the Grace of God Go I

“Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.” 1 Corinthians 10: 12

It can appear at times that when it comes to the Church or our wonderful priests or lay leaders, that there is nothing but bad news. We often hear in the secular media AND in the Catholic press about the scandals and abusers and those who have “fallen from grace”. The secular media of course loves it when a priest or someone with recognition in the Church can be flaunted in front of the cameras as a hypocrite and even within the Church there can sometimes seem to be a willingness to condemn and sentence anyone accused of anything without regard to the facts or whether they are truly guilty or not.

But all of us are susceptible to temptation are we not? It seems that every time there is a horrific shooting spree, the people who knew the shooter get on the news and tell us that they can’t believe the person was capable of doing what they did. The point is that ALL of us are capable of any sin if given the right conditions. If left unchecked, our consciences begin to quiet in our hearts. If allowed to be exposed to enough violence or perversions, our hearts and souls become dull and capable of anger and abuse. If we were to refrain from repenting or acknowledging our weaknesses, we could be become so cold and hard that we would cease to recognize our own sinfulness. The deceptiveness of pride is a potential cancer to all of us.

So how do you and I protect ourselves from going down this road? With an acknowledgement of our own sinfulness and weakness and a realization that we cannot save ourselves. Only by the grace of God can we live for Him and avoid sin. If we are deceived into thinking we are good and holy because of our own hard work and efforts alone, then we are being deceived and we are certainly setting ourselves up for a fall. Do we need to cooperate with the grace given to us? Absolutely. And do we have to use our free will to make choices that are good and holy? Yes. But if we are to protect ourselves from falling and causing scandal to others, then we need to accept that it is the grace of Jesus working in and through us that deserves the credit.

And what if we do fall (in a big noticeable way or even in a more private situation)? We need only look to the mercy of God in the sacrament of Reconciliation, go to Him and repent with humility and honesty and trust that we will be forgiven. Trust that He is a big God: bigger than our sins, bigger than our weaknesses, bigger than our pride. And then use this grace to try harder and to keep ourselves from the near occasion of sin. The more “holy” we become the more Satan is going to attack us. He never ceases to look for ways to tempt us and we must always stand guard against his attacks. But where sin abounds, God’s grace abounds more so. May we always walk in the grace of our Lord.

Dear Jesus, please give me the grace and the humility to walk secure in You and not in the false security of myself. Amen.

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