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The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The wages of sin is death

With Easter only two months away, the RCIA group at St. Thomas More Parish continues on its journey to preparing the way for its new members into the Church through Catholic education. Three candidates, my wife included have been meeting every Wednesday for almost a year to receive the true teachings of the Church; they are V. McKenzie, D. Miller and R. Knowles.

During our session tonight a discussion arose where the question was asked about whether we as Catholics truly believe that if your child (no age was specified at this point) was in a car accident and died, would their soul be lost if they had committed a mortal sin just prior to the accident? The answer to that is unequivocally "yes", if the child is of reason age.

Further, we must first explain what conditions must be met in order to have committed a mortal sin. To be in a state of mortal sin the three conditions are: 
  • The sin must be a sin of grave matter
  • That you have full knowledge of the sin committed and
  • The sin was committed with deliberate consent of the sinner.
When we sin we should not put our sins into groupings to determine whether we have committed a great sin or a lesser sin, the latter being referred to as a venial sin (by somehow keeping a record). A venial sin is a less serious offense against the law of God, which does not deprive the soul of sanctifying grace, and which can be pardoned even without sacramental confession. We should constantly try to live our lives as perfect and just as our God is, by being completely sorrowful for any sin that we commit against Him. Our children are no exception to the rule and should be given the proper instruction to ensure that they are made aware of the penalty for sin.

If we say that God is our Heavenly Father, then we should consider Him a just parent, as are our earthly fathers and mothers are to our children, therefore shouldn't we expect to be punished for our offenses? A very good family show that plays re-runs on the "Teen Nick"  channel (a children's network) portrays a single father raising his three children with the help of his best friend and brother-in-law. Whenever one of the children did something wrong, even after they admitted and was sorry for their wrongdoings, the father still punished them. This truly is an example for many to learn from. Many of the team leaders spoke about the importance of not giving in to every want and need of our children and to chastise them when they do wrong. As my wife would always tell our children: "I am your mother, not your friend." The saying" "You spear the rod, you spoil the child," holds true to need for punishment.

A prime example of punishment for our wrongdoings was seen in the first reading today that was taken from 2 Samuel 24:2, 9-17; here we see King David deciding that he wanted to register (or number) the people from Dan to Beer-sheba, even after being persuaded not to. David was loved very much by God. He was a man of great faith and had a strong willingness to obey God, but shortly after becoming King, David began to suffer what many leaders of today go through; the belief of being above the law with the arrogance of self importance. What sets David apart though is that he recognized his sins and sought repentance every time, thereby moving him away from sin and remaining closer to God.

After performing this act, he regretted his actions and said to the LORD: "I have sinned grievously in what I have done." How many times do we sin, knowing quite well that we are sinning, but continue to do so anyway. It is not until the sin has been committed that we sense the guilt and shame of having sinned and so we admit our quilt  and seek pardon. We are so blessed to have been afforded the gift and the sacrament of reconciliation. God is willing to pardon us of our sins, but there is still a price that must be paid. David had to pay a price by accepting pestilence as his punishment; granted his people suffered greatly, but he too suffered for the infliction he knew he brought on them.

So any time we sin, we should not think of how serious of a sin we committed, but rather how greatly we have offended our God. A favourite captivating speaker of mine, "Fr. Richards," asks the young men at his parish: "When you grow up would you cheat on your wife? The guys respond with a resounding "no". So Fr. Richards goes on further to ask them why wouldn't they cheat on their wives? Is it because it's a commandment says Fr. Richards? They answer "no, because we love her." Shouldn't we also be living our lives in this same fashion. Granted the law is written in the ten commandments, but if we loved God with our heart, mind and soul we do whatever it takes not to offend Him and not have to constantly live wondering which commandment did I break today?

If you've slipped up, even as a beloved King David did, isn't it grand to know that we have a Heavenly Father who is there to forgive us? God knows our hearts and knows when we are truly sorry for the sins that we commit. If we are truly sorry, then we will do everything in our power to stop.

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