Monday, November 19, 2012

You Are a Thief and a Murderer

WARNING: The following might make you feel bad. For this reason you are not likely to hear it in a typical Sunday homily. It is based on a reflection I happened across from St. Bernard of Clairvaux; a doctor of the Church.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
As is often the case, we need to start with the basics. Our souls consist of a will and an intellect. To love God is the highest act of the will and to know God is the highest act of the intellect. In this life, we can choose to move our will and intellect either toward God or toward “self”.

Are we really thieves? How can it be so? Since we were made by God and for God, we do not own ourselves. Therefore, when we commit acts of selfishness we are thieves who try to steal ourselves away from God. The only things we can truly claim ownership to are our sins and our vices.

How can we be murderers? Well, think about what murderers do. They kill a person and try to conceal the crime, perhaps by burying the victim in the ground. Likewise we too are murders, since we kill our souls, which is of far more value than our body. What do we do once we kill our souls? We try to hide the crime by burying our souls under mounds of filth. Gluttony, greed, addictions and perversions of every sort hide the fact that we are dead.  Even everyday “innocent” distractions like texting, gaming and Facebook can prevent us from seeing the crime that has happened.

To those “good” Catholics that never go to confession or maybe go once per year because they really don’t do anything “bad”. To those that firmly believe “I’m okay and you’re okay”……

Ø  Have you committed any selfish acts? Yes?
· You are a thief! Go to confession.

Ø  Have you committed the kind of sin that kills the soul? Yes?
· You are a murderer! Go to confession.

Ø Have you injured your soul with any type of sin at all? Yes?
· That is assault; you are an assailant! Go to confession.

Really….just go to confession, because I’m NOT okay and you’re NOT okay. As mentioned, you’re not likely to hear this in a Sunday homily because it is an unpleasant reality. There is a phrase we use at work to remind us of harsh realities and to express the emerging consequences thereof. We often say…. “You’ll have that”.



  1. Why should people confess, instead why not just try to make people not sin so they don't go to confession? That obligatory confession once a year shouldn't also be obligatory. If the person feels she hasn't sin, why should she confess? Just food for thought.

    1. How can people not sin without Gods Grace? Sacraments are channels for Grace and the more Grace the more holiness. The only two sacraments we can receive regularly are Confession and Eucharist. We reject them at our own loss and our own peril.

    2. The Ordinary CatholicNovember 26, 2012 at 5:17 AM

      What a person feels and what reality is are two different things. Though some may feel they haven't sinned, scripture tells us otherwise. Do we not take care of our health by eating right, taking vitamins, getting yearly checkups at the doctor or do we wait until our death bed before anything is done? Do we go years before cleaning and dusting our homes or do we do it periodically in order to maintain cleanliness? Our souls can and do accumulate sins, venial or mortal, and it needs to be periodically cleaned through the sacraments. The Church is in the business to save souls and obligating one to receive the Sacrament of Reconcilation is part and parcel of being a faithful Catholic for the sake of our souls. To ignore this obligation is done at one's own peril. We have free will, and if we think that we know more than the Church in what is needed to maintain a holy relationship with God, then we are free to choose, however, in choosing to ignore her teachings then we better be ready to accept the consequences of our choice.

      Christ himself told us to pray thusly, "and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Are we to pray this just once in our life? I think not. Here are a few verses to think about if we feel we do not sin:

      Ecclesiastes 7:20 There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.

      1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us.

      Prov. 24:16 The just man falls [daily] seven times.

      Thank you

  2. In the book of James we are to confess our sins to one another so we may be healed. All have sinned except for one that is Jesus. We will never get to a place of not sinning, it is in our nature to sin. We must understand that Grace is the only reason we deserve heaven and that was given to us and nothing we could work for or deserve. I thank God I don't have to be perfert, but I do need to be humble and understand it is the work of Christ on the cross and Him ressurected that makes me righteous not by works.

    1. In the Catholic interpretation, we are saved by God’s Grace. This happens through BOTH our faith AND our works. Jesus gave men the authority to forgive sins (see John 20:23). When God does something, it’s important and we must not dismiss it. BTW, thank you for your comment!

  3. As Ben said we cannot separate faith and works as both are important in the plan of salvation. Our works, through faith, in cooperation with God's Grace, is what gives them spiritual value. We may declare our faith all the time but unless we (the following are all works)forgive, feed, give drink, clothe, visit the imprisoned, instruct the ignorant etc, then the faith we proclaim from our lips will not go far. Imagine meeting God at the end of our days and he asks when did we do any of the above for our brothers and sisters and we reply, "But Lord! I believe in you and I have faith!", how far will that get us? If we say we have faith but do not help(works) our fellow man where will it get us?

    I do have to disagree with the statement, "I don't have to be perfect..." Our Lord himself told us to be perfect for the heavenly Father is perfect. No, we cannot do it on our own, but perfection in Christ should be and is our goal and it comes through faith and works in the cooperation with God's grace. It is true however, that when Christ died for us, we were totally lost. He died for us while we were still in sin, and so yes, by grace we are saved, but now, we have to accept that and all it's implications meaning we all need to have faith, and our works in grace has to accompany our faith. Faith alone is dead, as works without faith is dead. For a Christian it has to be both