Our lifelong struggle against sin

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THE celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on December 8 reminds us that like our heavenly Mother, we are meant to be sinless in our definitive state of life in heaven. Our Father God wants it that way since we are his image and likeness.

As the Eucharistic Preface of the Mass of the Solemnity puts it, Mary is the sign of favor God gave to the Church, which includes all of us, believers of Christ, at its beginning, and the promise of its perfection as the bride of Christ. We are supposed to be like Mary as she was and is completely identified with Christ.

But given our wounded condition here on earth, we also have to realize that we have the grave duty to continue waging war against sin, because temptations and sins will always hound us all throughout our life here on earth.

That may be an impossible pursuit, since we all know that we are all sinners, but it should not prevent us from doing our best to struggle to be as sinless as possible. In this regard, we should never forget to develop and strengthen our personal skills in handling temptations. This concern never goes passé, and it touches a basic, indispensable aspect of our life in all levels.

These days, temptations can come to us in the subtlest and trickiest of ways. This can be due, at least in part, to the increased level of sophistication both in people’s thinking and in world developments, especially in the area of technology and ideology.

With these developments, temptations can easily come undetected, and sin can be committed in a most hidden way and can even be easily rationalized. How important therefore it is for us to always grow in humility and simplicity, aggressively finding practical ways to achieve them! If not, we would just be lost.

As can be easily noted these days, the healthy fear of God is disappearing. In its place, a most heinous sense of self-importance is dominating. The criteria to determine what is good and bad have become blurred. They have gone almost completely relativistic and subjective, declaring total independence from any absolute and objective rule or law that comes from God.

Truth is, we always need God in our battle against temptations. We should disabuse ourselves from the thought that with our good intentions and our best efforts alone, we can manage to tame the urges of temptations.

Also, we should help others in their struggle against temptations and sins. In this regard, we have to learn how to fraternize with everybody, especially those in some bad spiritual and moral conditions. Like Christ, we should learn how to fraternize with sinners to help them.

We have to be wary of a certain tendency to fraternize only with the good people and not the bad ones. Let’s remember what Christ said in this regard: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repen

That is why we need to be tough ourselves spiritually, morally and even physically. We should be willing to complicate our lives for this purpose. In fact, as one saint said it, we should be willing to go all the way to the gates of hell, but not beyond, to save a soul

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com