Fr. Robert Bengry: Don’t deceive yourself.
|My Grandma was a wonderful woman and I miss her dearly. Here she is with my mom and my aunty and two blind cats. R Bengry|
St. John in his first epistle (chapter one, verse eight) tells us that anyone who claims he has no sin is deceiving himself and the truth is not in him. I suppose what's so repugnant about the idea of denying your own sinfulness is that what you're saying that you don't really need saving. Jesus is a Saviour. If you don't need saving, then what you're saying is that you don't need God. That might be difficult to accept, but I think that's true.
Each of us have been saved from Original Sin by Christ through baptism, but in this life most of us commit Mortal sins too — which are a kind of sin that tells God that you'd rather do things your own way, rather than His. God respects your freedom to choose, and so you can choose to do wrong in such a way that it breaks the relationship you have with God. Many do. Then there are the Venial sins. Not big enough to break things apart, but be careful, these littler sins make the bigger sins easier to commit. And let's be honest, those venial sins make us ugly too.
God respects your freedom to choose, but He's giving you every opportunity to choose Him which is His desire. You can do that by loving God everyday through prayer, study of His most Holy Word, by attending the the Mass and by following His commandments. You can do that by confessing your sins and doing penance, and by avoiding the near occasion of sin too. Love God in these ways... but that's not all, you're also called to love your neighbour. That's perhaps more difficult work.
The love of neighbour involves two things: firstly, you need to know what love truly is. Secondly, you need to know who your neighbour is. Do you know these two things? If not, go and read how Jesus answers those two questions in Holy Scripture. And if you do know these things, is the love you have for your neighbour expressed tangibly? in ways you'll be able to point to when you go and meet your Maker.
Love God and your neighbour, and when you fail in these things, turn again to God in the Confessional, and start anew, because even the angels rejoice when a sinner turns to Him. — Fr. Robert Bengry
- - -
The photograph: From the Robert Bengry collection. Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved.