Dear Brothers and Sisters,
What encouragement, the Lord gives us through St. JPII’s Encyclical, today! Paragraph 44 helps us to realize that “sin” continues to exist – even when others may not see or admit this truth by believing the “father of lies” – yet sin has been subjected to the saving power of the Redemption! Our struggles against sin, by God’s Grace, become victorious!
- In the Upper Room, on the eve of his Passion and again on the evening of Easter Day, Jesus Christ spoke of the Holy Spirit as the one who bears witness that in human history sin continues to exist. Yet sin has been subjected to the saving power of the Redemption. “Convincing the world concerning sin” does not end with the fact that sin is called by its right name and identified for what it is throughout its entire range. In convincing the world concerning sin the Spirit of truth comes into contact with the voice of human consciences. By following this path we come to a demonstration of the roots of sin, which are to be found in man’s inmost being, as described by the same Pastoral Constitution: **"The truth is that the imbalances under which the modern world labors are linked with that more basic imbalance rooted in the heart of man. For in man himself many elements wrestle with one another. Thus, on the one hand, as a creature he experiences his limitations in a multitude of ways. On the other, he feels himself to be boundless in his desires and summoned to a higher life. **Pulled by manifold attractions, he is constantly forced to choose among them and to renounce some. Indeed, as a weak and sinful being, he often does what he would not, and fails to do what he would."171 The Conciliar text is here referring to the well-known words of St. Paul.172 The “convincing concerning sin” which accompanies the human conscience in every careful reflection upon itself thus leads to the discovery of sin’s roots in man, as also to the discovery of the way in which the conscience has been conditioned in the course of history. In this way we discover that original reality of sin of which we have already spoken. The Holy Spirit “convinces concerning sin” in relation to the mystery of man’s origins, showing the fact that man is a created being, and therefore in complete ontological and ethical dependence upon the Creator. The Holy Spirit reminds us, at the same time, of the hereditary sinfulness of human nature. But the Holy Spirit the Counselor “convinces concerning sin” always in relation to the Cross of Christ. In the context of this relationship Christianity rejects any “fatalism” regarding sin. As the Council teaches: "A monumental struggle against the powers of darkness pervades the whole history of man. The battle was joined from the very origins of the world and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested."173 "But the Lord himself came to free and strengthen man."174 Man, therefore, far from allowing himself to be “ensnared” in his sinful condition, by relying upon the voice of his own conscience "is obliged to wrestle constantly if he is to cling to what is good. Nor can he achieve his own interior integrity without valiant efforts and the help of God s grace."175 The Council rightly sees sin as a factor of alienation which weighs heavily on man’s personal and social life. But at the same time it never tires of reminding us of the possibility of victory.
A beautiful hymm written by Fr. Lucien Deiss:
Keep in Mind
that Jesus Christ
has died for us
and is risen from the dead.
He is our saving Lord.
He is joy for all ages!
If we die with the Lord, we shall live with the Lord.
If we endure with the Lord, we shall reign with the Lord.
In Christ all our sorrow, in Christ all our joy.
In him hope of glory, in him all our love.
In Christ our redemption, in Christ all our grace.
In him our salvation, in him all our peace.