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Cultivate the Right Attitude to Sin this Lent

I had concluded Holy Mass in a parish and was rushing for my next engagement when I noticed that a parishioner had packed behind my car in the parking lot making it impossible for me to depart immediately as I had planned. I waited anxiously for the owner to arrive and move the car. The owner casually arrived about half an hour later, entered her car, and drove out without a single word of apology to me. By then I was already way too late for my next engagement.

I could feel the anger rising within me. The thoughts of offense were going full throttle in my mind, “How rude, proud, selfish, arrogant, and insensitive she is.” It was only after a few minutes that I realized that while focusing so much on the annoying attitude of the parishioner, I had completely forgotten the presence of the Lord Jesus that I had just received in Holy Communion. As long as I was giving in to and nurturing the angry thoughts in my head, the more I disconnected myself from God’s loving presence with me and within me.

Nothing affects our relationship with God more than our attitude towards sin – our own sins and the sins of others against us. When we do not have a good attitude towards sin, our relationship with God is wounded and our faith in Him begins to dwindle.

Jesus in Mk 1:12-15 shows us the two attitudes that we must have towards sin if we are going to have a healthy relationship with God – Resist and Repent.

We must resist and overcome temptations to sin now. Jesus, the Holy One of God, freely chose to be tempted by the devil because He wanted to be faithful to His Father who had recently declared to Him at His baptism in the Jordan, “You are my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” All the temptations that Jesus faced were aimed at rupturing His filial relationship with His Father. But Jesus came and left the desert of temptation an ever-faithful Son of His Father.

St. Augustine reminds us that we too share in the victory of Jesus over temptations, “He (Christ) suffered temptation in your nature, but by His own power gained victory for you.” Because of the victory of Jesus, we too can and should resist and overcome temptations by His grace. His victory is both an example and an inspiration for our own victory over temptations. Jesus even promises that we will overcome greater temptations, “Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.”(Jn 14:12)

We should also begin to resist now, no matter the past defeats and failures. We should not postpone the day of our resistance to sin as if we can resist tomorrow while giving in to sin today. The truth is that we become spiritually weaker the more that we give in to sin.

Read more at Catholic Exchange 

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