Concupiscence vs Conscience


simple question:

why is it possible for me,
baptized and confirmed,
to go long periods without lapsing into mortal sin
then to decide
just plain decide to do what I know is wrong?

now, more generally,
how can someone in a state of grace
intentionally commit actual sin
even as simple (but deadly) as skipping Mass?

there is no demon whispering in my ear
no special temptation
just plain laziness (sloth)
a demonstrated lack of Love
for a day

from whence?

pick your serious sin
know that it’s wrong
and commit (or omit)
and risk hell!
for what?

how can a human, absent any notable near occassion, make such a horrible decision?

is this a peronal (individual) flaw?
or have you also behaved this way?
or is this a general (humankind) vulnerability?
and what is the preventive measure to be applied?


how can a human, absent any notable near occassion, make such a horrible decision? * Free will plus weak will.
is this a peronal (individual) flaw? * Yesor have you also behaved this way?
or is this a general (humankind) vulnerability? Yes. It’s called the effects of original sin. and what is the preventive measure to be applied?
Prayer, penitence, and recourse to the sacraments.


I don’t have many answers, except to say that it is not just you. I have recently relapsed into some old vices (CCC 1865), and it is hell trying to get myself to care enough to stop again. I only know that stopping ain’t ever gonna be easy, and so I might as well stop now. I know that the path to salvation entails the bearing of this particular cross, and the sooner I stop moaning about how I want a different one, the better. I look at a crucifix and see the destiny of every Christian, including me, and realize that the dying-to-self process is part-and-parcel of the trip to heaven. There is no one without the other. This is the path that all are called to, in one way or another. And I know that not getting up is the only thing that will ultimately kill me. And I know that after a while of doing the right thing, it will get easier, but every bone in my body aches (right now) for I want.

I stumbled upon this the other day:
“Whoever wants to remain faithful to his baptismal promises and resist temptations will want to adopt the means for doing so: self-knowledge, practice of an ascesis adapted to the situations that confront him, obedience to God’s commandments, exercise of the moral virtues, and fidelity to prayer (CCC 2340).”

We are fickle creatures, we human beings.


ROMANS 7: 14-25 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. 15 What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. 20 Now if (I) do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. 22 For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, 23 but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind, serve the law of God but, with my flesh, the law of sin.


Thank you all. What about conscience?

Does my conscience just bring guilt from wrong, or is it also a means of motivation to do right? And if the latter, then why not overcome reluctance to go to Mass?

[This week I went, but just really didn’t want to.]


Conscience is that faculty of your intellect that judges the rightness or wrongness of a proposed action or omission.

Like any faculty of the intellect, it must be rightly formed; otherwise it’s judgments will not always be correct.

But conscience only tells you what is right and wrong. It is through the will that we choose to do right or wrong.

When it comes to choosing right actions (such as going to Mass on Sundays), it is not required that we feel like doing them or even that we want to do them. It is only required that we do them.

We don’t have to like doing what is right; we only need to be faithful, regardless of our feelings.


Sounds like acedia to me - the noonday demon.

You are not alone, this is a well-worn path.

If you did not have the Law of God inscribed on your natural heart, you would not feel the pangs of conscience.

This too will pass.


Abba Anthony said, "I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, “What can get through from such snares?” Then I heard a voice saying to me, “Humility.” - Abba Anthony


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