October 25, 2006

Near Occasions of Sin

Act of Contrition

O my God,
I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee.
I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven
and the pains of hell.

But most of all because they offend Thee, my God,
Who art all good and deserving of all my love.

I, therefore, firmly resolve,
with the help of Thy grace to sin no more
and to avoid the near occasions of sin.


The above Act of Contrition is my favorite because it contains the stated intention of the Penitent (me) to avoid the near occasions of sin in the future.

Gentle Reader, I think we all have situations that we put ourselves into when we know, WE KNOW, we are going to sin.

I know if I go to this friends evening bar-b-que and the bong is passed around the fire I'm not going to be able to say no.

I know if I go to this bar with this friend I'm going to be dancing inappropriately.

I know if I go to the all-you-can-eat buffet I'm going to gorge myself.

I know if I visit this family I will not make it to Mass on Sunday.

I know if I visit this neighbors house I'm going to be envious of all their goods and angry that they are too cheap to buy a Boy Scout wreath from my son.

I know if I go bar-hopping I'm going to drink too much.

I know if I just stop-by my exes house I won't leave until dawn.

We all try to justify it don't we? Well, it just happened. I could not have forseen it. WRONG! You know yourself. You know how much temptation you can or cannot take.

Friends, you can lie to yourself. But, you cannot lie to the Lord God. He knows, even if you think you don't.

I'm infamous for putting myself into "near occasions of sin". I know better but I do it anyway. Thank God for Confession.

BUT, did you know that there is such a sin as the sin of presumption? This is knowingly committing a mortal sin with the idea that you can go to Confession. "Well, I'll have sex with my boyfriend, even though I know it's a mortal sin, because I can always go to Confession on Tuesday." Then, you have 2 sins to confess.

Stop. Reflect. Pray.


Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

Great post! Thank you!

I think it's important to mention that when we go to Confession, we are not going to talk to some guy in a roman collar...we are going to kneel before Jesus Christ himself. I just spoke on this tonight to my RCIA class. When we go to Confession, Jesus already knows what we have done and he knows all of our excuses. We can't hide from him. The priest may pronounce the words of absolution, but it is not binding if we are sinning by presumption because it is Jesus who forgives through the priest. (I actually didn't go this deep in my talk).

But what I did relate was that in my 12 year confession, I don't think that most of my confession was even intelligable, but he never asked me to repeat anything...because it didn't matter. Jesus heard EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. Thus Jesus also hears what we DON'T say.

I might have to post on Confession specifically...hmmm..

October 25, 2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Good points. Thanks, Adoro!

October 26, 2006 6:39 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Great post Cathy, and you too, Adoro.

Father Altier and others have brought up something that I never was taught, but especially in warm weather, and while web surfing and sometimes even at Mass:

Keeping custody of your eyes!

There are many things what are occasions of sin that we run across all the time. Train yourself to focus on some other part of the scene or web page and say a quick prayer. It can work.

October 26, 2006 8:06 AM  
Blogger Georgette said...

So true, Cathy. Presumption and our continually putting ourselves in the near occasions of sin is really the very definition of hypocracy. Ales Rarus (the Funky Dung guy) has an excellent post on hypocracy, this very thing you talk about, from St John Climatus's Ladder of Divine Ascent (I think it is called).

And just a few days ago I read that St. Padre Pio said that hypocracy is the number one most destructive sin in the world today. That is a very big claim and really scary -- but if you think about it, it is so true. Hypocracy destroys faith at its very roots (in ourselves and as well as in the world as it makes impotent any evangelization efforts on our part). This is so evil and subversive because the Faith is the only real Hope for this poor world!

God bless,

October 26, 2006 10:44 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

More good points, from Ray and Georgette.

Group hug!

October 26, 2006 11:57 AM  
Blogger IR said...

Ms. Kathy,

Thank You! I struggle with habitual sin, and have been thinking abou the near occasions of sin lately. Your post helps and encourages.

Especiallly since you enumerate several things I do.

thank God for Confession!

October 26, 2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

I just wish EVERYONE understood the value and the NEED for this sacrament, which Jesus Christ so wisely instituted for our benefit.

October 26, 2006 7:57 PM  
Blogger Angela Messenger said...

We meet Him in Confession as surely as we do in Communion. Yet, the Communion lines are long and the Confessional lines are short. Priests need to talk more about this sacrament and at the same time we need to recognize that general society has lost any sense of sin. Yeah, I know..I am preaching to the choir here...but it still bears repeating.

October 27, 2006 12:26 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Angela: I have OFTEN noticed the difference in the length of the Communion versus the Confession lines. I try not to be judgemental but I sometimes can't help it!

You make an excellent point, the Lord may be found in the Confessional as well as the Host.

October 27, 2006 1:50 PM  

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