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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fr. Voigt, "Which is easier to say?"

Fr. Voigt, "Which is easier to say?"

Which is easier to say?  Your sins are forgiven or stand and walk.  For God a single word is creative, prophetic and eternal.  So what is the problem in this story?  The problem lies in the intellect of each man and woman born under the pain of original sin.  We lost the awesome gifts of immortality, impassibility and infused knowledge.  The issue is right there and it is the question of infused knowledge.  What we should be able to know of God we must struggle for in our day to day existence.  We must read, reflect, meditate and contemplate the mystery that God has become one of us.   The Jew would not accept this fact that only God can forgive sins and yet Jesus forgives sins and it is confirmed by the fact that the man was cured. 

Today the sins of thought occupy very few souls.  In fact sin itself is called into question by the modern mass man. 
No longer are there lines in front of the confessional.  No longer do men do penance as an act of reparation for their sins.  A few "Hail Marys" suffice to square the ledger of justice.  Why then did our Lady call us to realize that hell exists and many fall into it because "they have no one to prayer and make sacrifice for them."  In this case Our Blessed Lord read the mind of the Jew and answered their interior judgment of his words.  Let us consider the pattern that Jesus offers us in this story and apply it to our spiritual journey.

First, there is the act of prayer to the Father.  We should always turn to God before any act of importance in our lives.
The action of prayer subordinates everything we do to the will of God.  Our spiritual lives are the priority of our being. Hence our sins must be confessed and forgiven if we are to please God and prepare ourselves for the physical healing we may need and desire.  So many moderns don't turn to the divine physician to take care of their physical problems and so we lose the greatest healer for some doctor who may know nothing of our problem.  Do you really think that our loving Lord is not interested in your healing.  You may not think He is but there are many friends who wish to intercede for you in your ailments.  Thus the pattern is completed:  1) prayer to the Father, 2) recognition of the spiritual healing through confession, 3) the need of intercession by our family and friends.  

Now we must turn to the true concern of our Lord:  Jewish unbelief.  With all the gentleness that this world has to offer Jesus turns to the evil thoughts of those who did not want our Lord to demonstrate His Divine Power.  
Mediocrity is acceptable to a mediocre world but excellence is rejected outright.  Our way of thinking is prone to follow error.  All good thoughts are from the Lord while evil thoughts come from the heart of man, the devil or the world around us.  Hence we are tempted not that we might fall but that we might conquer and gain merit for our perseverance in the faith.  Thoughts have three movements and three different results.

Temptation is the first stage of thought and when resisted there is merit gained.  In the second stage a soul takes delight in the sinful thought and falls into venial sin.  Finally if the pleasure captures the heart then the consent of the will may enter and destroy the friendship with God which places the soul in the state of mortal sin.
Sins of thought are so easily omitted from one's confession because we just do anything but as St. Augustine tells us:  "What is unlawful to do is also unlawful to think."  Here is where the true Catholic souls recognize that they can sin daily more than seven times.  We fall so often into sins of envy, revenge, pride, lust, greed and so on.

How then do we cleanse the thoughts through the three-fold act of prayer, meditation on the Gospels and ejaculations.
In other words we can "crowd out" the evil by infusing the mind with divine words and knowledge of Jesus.  St. Jerome reminds us that ignorance of the Word of God is ignorance of our Lord Jesus Christ.  May I exhort you to begin your day with the Gospel in hand and keep a continuous reading of those four Gospels and you will find that the sins of the thought will become fewer and fewer.  You will then be able to answer the divine question:  "Which is easier to say:
thy sins are forgiven or stand up and walk."  May God forgive us our sins and allow us to walk in the path of light.

In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Fr. Richard Voigt