Monday, September 26, 2011

Repeat Offenders

Have you ever resolved never to commit a sin or fault ever again and bang! the next thing you know you're at it again? Like nagging your spouse over some annoying habit or yelling at the kids to clean up their rooms? Or maybe it's that tendency to overindulge yourself in your favorite treats? Or gossip about things and people? Or not do stuff you know you really ought to do and inconvenience others?

The list could go on and on, right? Priests get it all the time in confession. Somebody comes in and says he is discouraged because he keeps confessing the same sin over and over, intends to improve, and the good intentions come to naught.

If you give up the devil has already beaten you. Surely God doesn't want us to throw in the towel. So why does God let us keep falling? Here's an answer from Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene, OCD.

…God permits it in order to humble us more - we must join to humility an immense confidence in the divine help.

"He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved" (Mt. 10:22), said Jesus. He who will persevere unto the end is not he who will never fall, but he who after every fall will humble himself and rise again, relying on the infinite strength of God.

One no less than the great Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux says:

If it is Your will that throughout my whole life I should feel a repugnance to suffering and humiliation; if you permit all the flowers of my desires and good will to fall to the ground without producing any fruit, I shall not be disturbed. I am sure that if I persevere in my good efforts, in the twinkling of an eye, at the moment of death, You will cause rich fruits to ripen on the tree of my soul.

What a happy thought.

I apologize to my fellow bloggers. This was supposed to go up tomorrow and I clicked the "publish" button accidentally. I know we only want one post a day so it will be easier for all of us to get read.


  1. It was good you did today, Barbara. It was something I needed to hear! It's the humbling and rising again part that I need to be reminded of :)

  2. I'm glad you put this post up too, Barb. I'm another one who needed to hear them. I get so frustrated with myself sometimes, forgetting that our falls are great lessons in humility and permitted by God because pride is the worst sin of all. He wants us to rely on Him and trust him. St. Therese had this down pat.

    Should I add that I love Fr. Gabriel and your thoughts on his words? (I know, I say that every time! LOL!) Since you have been posting about this book it has gone to the top of my wish list. He is very wise.

  3. Barbara, we have never met, but the first part of this post sounds like you know me! I second Noreen, its something I needed to hear today!

    Thank you & peace!

  4. Barbara, thank you for "mistakenly" sharing this post today. I needed to read it.

  5. A beautiful reminder that God allows all for our good and His glory. Thanks Barb!
    I read something Scott Hahn wrote once where he shared a story of how he was lamenting to the priest in the confessional that he seemed to be committing the same sins over and over and over again...the priest asked, "Would you rather have some new ones?" It sounds like a joke, at first, but then the priest went on to counsel him and explained that we tend to "sin" within our state-in-life...shortcomings and temptations that are common to "where we're at" are common and that is usually where we will find ourselves sinning. I found this a very interesting thought to ponder.

  6. Thanks to all of you for cutting me slack. This subject is one I've thought about and dealt with so often myself. What's interesting is that I'm at a point where I can actually look back and notice a change in my attitude brought about by grace, so habitual sins I committed much more often are now fewer. God really does help us when we ask Him. Of course, new stuff comes up and I have to start all over again. It's just part of the journey. The important thing is not to get discouraged.

    Love the Scott Hahn story. The priest was right about us sinning according to "where we're at". When we're able to move on, new challenges to the practice of virtue always come up. Sometimes it makes me brain weary to think of it. Won't heaven be grand! No more sin.

  7. I love the Scott Hahn story too. I also read a story about a monk who was asked what he did in the monastery all day. "I fall and I get up, I fall and I get up, I fall and I get up." It is nice to know I am not the only one who keeps falling.
    Thanks Barb!

  8. Colleen, that's great monastic humor. Thanks.