Humility Allows Us To Live Before God As We Really Are.

Humility Makes Us Aware Of Our Need For God’s Mercy!

Father James Farfaglia-What is sin? Man calls it an accident; God calls it an abomination. Man calls it a defect; God calls it a disease. Man calls it an error; God calls it an enmity. Man calls it a liberty; God calls it lawlessness. Man calls it a trifle; God calls it a tragedy. Man calls it a mistake; God calls it madness. Man calls it a weakness; God calls it willfulness.

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner’” (Luke 18: 12-13).

The virtue of humility permits us to live before God as we truly are. We are sinful creatures.  The first step in our relationship with God is that we understand and acknowledge that we are sinful creatures.
Peter knelt before Jesus and said “Depart from me for I am a sinful man.”  Mary Magdalen wept at the feet of Jesus and dried her tears with her hair.  The Roman centurion told Jesus that he was not worthy that he should enter his home. The recognition of our own sinfulness allows us to experience the mercy of God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us a concise definition of sin. “Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law” (CCC #1849).

Scripture tells us that actual sin is classified as either a mortal sin or a venial sin. “There is a sin that leads to death…” (1 John 5:16). “Every kind of wickedness is sin, but not all sin leads to death” (1John 5:17).

Mortal sin is forgiven through the Sacrament of Confession. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance. All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession…” (CCC #1456).

However, it must be understood that the frequent confession of our venial sins is also essential for our continued spiritual growth and development.

Just like all the other sacraments of the Church, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Confession.  The Church has always understood the Scriptural reference for the Sacrament of Confession to be John 20: 22-23: “Receive the Holy Spirit.  For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained”.

It is necessary to go to Confession on a regular basis.  Confession makes perfect sense when we accept ourselves as we are.  Only the humble live in the truth, and only the humble understand the need that they have for God in their lives.

The acceptance of our own sinfulness also allows us to understand that salvation is not a guaranteed reality.  We can end up losing our souls in hell. We have to struggle every day to be faithful, and we need to use the means that the Church gives us in order to persevere in the life of grace.

The Pharisee in this Sunday’s gospel narrative did not go to the temple to pray.  He wanted to tell God how good he was.  His pride did not allow him to recognize his own sinfulness. The tax collector, on the other hand, acknowledged that he had sinned.  His humility allowed him to live in the truth.

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1 comment to Humility Allows Us To Live Before God As We Really Are.

  • Cody in Tucson

    Last Sunday in his homily my parish’s pastor read an article written by Dr Robert Schuller, the head of the Crystal Cathedral in California, about a man who sent Schuller a letter about repentance. This letter detailed how this person had led a very sinful life and how he had fallen down on his knees and begged God for forgiveness. That was it! Nothing said to the people present at the Mass that as a Catholic the way to be forgiven of sins is through the sacrament of confession/reconciliation. The opportunity to instruct the faithful in the faith was totally lost! My wife suggested that we send the pastor a letter. We would say “Father, I’m glad that the church has finally changed its stance on confession, we never felt comfortable going to a priest. Now that all we have to do for repentance is write a letter, Father, who do we send the letter to?”

    We wonder if this pastor would even get the point from a letter like this?

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