Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Morning Musing: The Near Occasion of Sin

Dusty is a good dog--cheerful, friendly, (mostly) obedient. A very good dog.But when the trash can holds the carcass of last night's roast chicken, I don't leave it in the kitchen. To the mudroom it goes, behind the gate. Dusty's a good dog, but hey, there's only so much that can be expected of him in the face of such a temptation.

This morning, when I saw what I done almost automatically, "near occasion of sin" jumped into my head.

There are many versions, but my favorite act of contrition is an old one:
"Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, but most of all, because they offend Thee, my God, who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin."

When something or someone or someplace makes it easier for us to sin, maybe even likely that we will sin, we need to stay away from it/him. We've all got our weaknesses--certain books or movies, bad friends, lack of sleep (Moms, you know what I mean!)--things that make it hard to be good.

We need to put those things in the mudroom behind the gate. We can't stay in the kitchen with them, smelling that chicken, seeing that so-easy-to-tip-over trash can, and then expect ourselves to not take off the lid and make a big mess of things. The Church in her wisdom reminds us to stay away from temptation.

Another thought I had is that we need to also make sure we're not someone else's near occasion of sin. Things that we say or do, even if they're not objectively wrong (but especially if they are), can make it hard for others to be good. Sometimes we may need to put ourselves or our behaviors behind a gate to protect others, especially those we love.

I'm thinking of siblings pestering each other, friends sharing bad language or bad images or gossip, parents nagging until anger or resentment builds, or (this is the one that jumped out at me today) women dressing provocatively. That could be a zillion posts or books by itself (and is, all over the web), but the idea of women dressing modestly to protect the virtue of men is an interesting one.

Have a great day! Share with me YOUR morning musings! :-)

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