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The Ripple Effect of Sin . . . and Good


When you arrive in heaven, I wonder if Christ might say ‘Because of you, others are here today. Wanna meet ‘em?’” ~ Max Lucado

Today’s 1st Reading (2 Samuel 12:1-7, 10-17), which to some may resemble a fairly tame episode of the Jerry Springer Show, reminds us that sin does indeed bring with it wide-ranging consequences, a ripple effect if you will. In his hypothetical conversation with Nathan, David impugns himself, but in doing so, quickly and wisely seeks forgiveness from a merciful and understanding God who forgives 70x7 times (Matthew 18:22).

“The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die,” Nathan tells David, but since David spurned the Lord by unlawfully taking Uriah for his wife and slaying her husband Bathsheba, his child, according to Nathan, must surely die. David for his part donned sackcloth and began fasting in an act of reparations. Sin has consequences. That’s the bad news.

The good news? Acts of mercy, acts of kindness, acts of charity, these too have consequences. On this 1st Saturday, a day in which the Catholic Church commemorates the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we’re reminded that unlike the Queen of Heaven, we are in fact born with the stain of original sin. Concupiscence, our natural proclivity towards sin, stares us squarely in the eye when he get up in the morning and look into the mirror. A part of me winces every time I partake of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and, during my act of contrition, proclaim that “I firmly intend to sin no more....”


If I were to instead firmly intend to become the Phoenix Suns’ starting small forward next season, there would be a better chance of that happening. This is why the Sacrament of Reconciliation is so vital. As I’ve discussed here and here and many other times, we don’t go to Confession merely to confess our sins. There are so many divine graces associated with this Sacrament. The simple act of going to Confession is an exercise in humility, one in which pride is kicked to curb, precisely where it belongs. Simple acts of contrition unite us to Jesus while reminding us that he’s moved past our sin, not only because he is merciful beyond the pale, but because he has bigger plans for you and me. Jesus wants us to move on as well, so that we can get back to work on those plans. The Kingdom of Heaven is, afterall, at hand.

Moving beyond the muck and mire of sin allows us to shift the focus off of ourselves and begin creating those positive ripple effect that come with doing good. Devotees of Saint Therese of Lisieux, the “Little Flower of Jesus,” resolve to live their lives rooted in her “Little Way,” the idea of doing little things with great love. Saint Therese had the wisdom to understand that the vast majority of God’s children will not have the opportunity to bring profound change to the world, but we could still change it through small, sometimes very small acts of love. For this she was named one of the 36 Doctors of the Church, proving that one does not need to be a learned theologian in order to attain this lofty title. Did I mention that she only lived to be 24 years old?

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As the Lenten Season approaches, let us all resolve to shift our focus and become true messengers for Jesus. That through our thoughts, our words, our choices and our actions we can bring the message of the Kingdom into a world that so desperately needs it. Seek swift forgiveness so that you can move on from sin and instead focus on the task at hand: achieving heavenly glory and one day meeting those who achieved the same because of you.

If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze.” ~ St. Catherine of Siena


manatita44 from london on February 01, 2020:

Lovely thoughts and words here. Peace.

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