Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By John D. Meehan

1/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Part I - From the beginning...

Original Sin is nothing else than despising the authority of God and, consequently, all authority. Thus, males and females, each in their own way, enter fallen human existence as selfish and disobedient persons.

Highlights

By John D. Meehan

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/29/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Year of Faith, Catechism of the Catholic Church, John Meehan, sin, redemption, Christ, Jesus, Catholic Church, Grace


HOOKSET, NH (Catholic Online) - The Catholic Church proclaims the whole of salvation history: Creation, the Fall, and Redemption: "In love you created man, in justice you condemned him, and in mercy you redeemed him, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord" (Preface, Weekdays II).

Sin entered human history by way of Adam and Eve: "In their hearts they put God to the test" (Ps 78:18). The personal sins of Adam and Eve resulted from free-willed acts, not from Creation: "According to faith, the disorder [in the human heart] we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin" (Catechism, no. 1607). The disobedience of Adam and Eve was "an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and of loving one another" (Catechism, no. 387).

From the very moment of his or her conception in the womb, Original Sin and its horrific effects are transmitted to a human being. This transmission is by propagation, not by imitation: "For indeed, I was born in sin; guilt was with me already when my mother conceived me" (Ps 51:6).

Except for Jesus of Nazareth and, by an extraordinary act of redemption, his Immaculate Mother Mary, every person is born into sin and death. This is so because, as mentioned, Adam and Eve propagate Original Sin and its grim consequences in and through their progeny: "All have left the right path, depraved, every one: there is not a good man left, no not even one" (Ps 14:2-3). Once again, to every single person conceived in the womb of his or her mother, the Mystery of Iniquity is transmitted: "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone" (Lk 18:19).

In 1952, Pope Pius XII declared that the sin of the modern era is the mistaken idea that there is no such thing as sin. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, commented on this lamentable state:  "It is precisely the existence of sin that modern man is unable to take seriously. Because of this rejection of sin, no one is directly touched today by the Gospel claim that the evidence of Jesus' divine nature is based on his power to forgive sins. Most people do not explicitly deny the existence of God, but they do not believe that he is of any importance in the realm of human life. Hardly anyone seriously thinks nowadays that men's wrong actions may concern God so much that he regards them as sinful and offensive to him, with the result that such sins must be forgiven by him alone."

Thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is quite explicit when it comes to the existence of sin:  Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile.Only the light of Divine Revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind's origins. Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God, WE CANNOT RECOGNIZE SIN CLEARLY AND ARE TEMPTED TO EXPLAIN IT AS MERELY A DEVELOPMENTAL FLAW, A PSYCHOLOGICAL WEAKNESS, A MISTAKE, OR THE CONSEQUENCE OF AN INADEQUATE SOCIAL STRUCTURE, ETC. (Catechism, no. 386)

In a radical way, Original Sin changed the love-relationship between God and his human creatures, introducing a different kind of divine-human relationship. This new relationship was based on justice alone, not free-willed love: "If you, O Lord, laid bare our guilt, who could stand it?" (Ps 129:3).

Later on in salvation history, the Mosaic Covenant restored somewhat the fallen creature's relationship with God. Still, it remained a relationship based on justice, tempered by the forgiveness of God:  I made my sin known to you; I did not conceal my guilt. I said, "I shall confess my offense to the Lord." And you, for your part, took away my guilt, forgave my sin. That is why each of your faithful ones prays to you in time of distress (Ps 32:5-6).

Jesus of Nazareth pointed out the specific locale of sinful acts - the human heart: "He had knowledge of them all, and did not need assurances about any man, because he could read men's hearts" (Jn 2:25). The Lord knows only too well the hidden operations of one's inmost being: "Why do you think evil in your hearts?" (Mt 9:4).

Sacred scripture describes the hidden waywardness of the heart this way:  The heart is more devious than any other thing, and is depraved; who can pierce its secrets? I, the Lord, search the heart, test the motives, and give each person what his conduct and his actions deserve    (Jr 17:10).

The God-Man exposed the source of sinful activities when he said, "Can your speech be good when you are evil? For words flow out of what fills the heart" (Mt 12:34). Hence, he gave his followers this instruction: What comes from within people? From their hearts come evil thoughts, unchastity, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly (Mk 7:21-23)    .

Ignoring or casting aside the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth  not only leads to a loss of the sense of sin but "empties the Cross of Christ of its meaning" (1 Co 1:17).

Original Sin weakened the disposition of every human being to be loved by God and, in turn, disoriented the free-willed power to love him above all else: "Sin speaks to the sinner in the depths of his heart" (Ps 36:3). As a result, the dire effects of Original Sin brought selfish desires, disorderly affections, and unstable emotions to human existence. A dysfunctional inner life, then, is one consequence of the Fall: "Pleasure is preceded by a certain appetite which is felt in the flesh, like a craving, such as hunger and thirst. That generative appetite is most commonly identified with the name, 'lust,' though this is the generic word for all desires" (Saint Augustine).

Since Adam and Eve, respectively, sinned as male and as female, the penalties for their personal sins have been passed on to every particular male and every particular female. Adam desired Eve instead of God and, thereby, lost control over his sexual nature. That loss subjects males to lust after the organs of generation. Eve desired herself instead of God and, thereby, lost control over herself. That loss subjects all females to lust after themselves: vanity.

Furthermore, rather than accuse themselves before God, Adam and Eve made excuses to God. Adam said, "The woman whom you put here with me - she gave me fruit from the tree so I ate" (Gn 3:12). Thus, males are prone to caving into females which is the origin of "wimpiness." Eve, on the other hand, said, "The serpent trucked me into it, so I ate it" (Gn 3:13) Hence, females are prone to mis-speak the truth.

Finally, fueled by self-exaltation, Original Sin is nothing else than despising the authority of God and, consequently, all authority. Thus, males and females, each in their own way, enter fallen human existence as selfish and disobedient persons.

Yet, sacred scripture makes no mention of an essential change in human nature. The vitality of human nature, not its integrity, was lost. Although the cohesion of human nature and, therefore, the unity within the human heart disappeared, the impulse to do good and be good did not: Which one of you would hand your son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you, then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him (Mt 12:35).

Nevertheless, the bulk of human history has followed the path of Adam and Eve and their first offspring, Cain and Abel. Individually and communally, that historical path is a well-worn track of inner discord and social strife. Common experience, in fact, agrees with sacred scripture: "The flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh; the two are directly opposed" (Ga 5:17).

The Catechism explains the actual cause of this opposition:  Because man is composite, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between "spirit" and "flesh" develops. But, in fact, this struggle belongs to the inheritance of sin. It is a consequence of sin and, at the same time, a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience (Catechism, no. 2516).

----- 

John D. Meehan has been involved in the lay apostolate of the Catholic Church since the close of the Second Vatican Council.  He resides in New Hampshire with his lovely wife Elizabeth. 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, 'When you see a cloud ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 24th, 2014 Image

St. Anthony Mary Claret
October 24: Claretian archbishop and founder. Anthony was born in Salient in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter