1850 Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight." Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods," knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God." In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.
in a recent conversation with someone it was suggested that writing about sobriety and writing about theology would be difficult because the two can be so different as to cause conflict with my readers. I was taken aback, as that idea seems foreign to me. I supposed, because of my personal experience, I don't see the conflict and it dawned on me during this morning's 11th Step that the reason so many people think there is a conflict is because the word 'religion' has taken a real beating in the last twenty years or so. In particular, since the attack on the United States on 9/11 those who have a beef with organized religion have gone to great length to argue that there is an inherent evil about all organized worship of God.
I have also dealt with the opinions held by some towards me that because I very publicly and spectacularly fall short of living perfectly according to the Teachings of the Catholic Church that I, like all religious people, am a hypocrite.
All this is understandable. We are a black/white, all or nothing kind of society in America. We exalt people for the wrong reasons (money, beauty, fame) and we delight in the failures or mistakes these false icons inevitably make. We are quick to point out the mistakes of our fellows and we are slow to see our own. I suffer from this just as much as the next person. I get it.
As someone who fights daily the disease of alcoholism I have a constant battle with the sin of self-exaltation. In my 12 Step program we call it selfishness, self-centered fear. The 11th Step, seeking through prayer and meditation knowledge of God and the understanding of what His Will is for me, is an attempt to suppress at the least, discard at the most, our fallen natures. Whenever I make an error, whether it be a big one or a small one, it is inevitably rooted in fear of not being accepted or loved. My goal has been to lose the need for the love of human beings and focus only on needing the Love of God. Trying to express that in my writing has caused people I do love pain and that was not my intention; however, my goal is still the same.
I believe that my spiritual growth will depend upon my ability to love rather than be loved. When I can open my heart to others without needing them to open their heart to me I will have achieved a closer union with Jesus.
Sin, that need for "proud self- exaltation", is what holds me back. It is what causes me to want your love more than the Love that surpasses all human experiences. My needs, my wants, my desires put me in conflict with you and that conflict inevitably leads to the separation from Jesus Christ and His Church. If I do not reconcile and accept the consequences of my own actions, I get closer to the next drink. For me, to drink is to die.
Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation allows that particular wound to heal. However, I know that my actions have caused a rift and that rift may never heal at all. What I have to remember, however, is failing to live up to the Teachings of the Church is not hypocritical. I believe in those Teachings. I am just not very good at incorporating them into my every day life in a consistent basis. Luckily for me, perfection is not required for membership in His Church. As my spiritual director has reminded me quite forcibly over the past 48 hours, The Church is not a hotel for saints.
It is a hospital for sinners.
Have a great day, everyone!