How can one ever be "free from all attachment to sin"?


#1

This question is in connection with obtaining a plenary indulgence.

What does it mean to be free of all attachment to sin, even venial sin? As a result of the fall of man, we have all been left with concupiscence, which is the tendency to sin. To me, that means that in our fallen state, we can never be free of the attachment to sin. Does this mean that the Church has given us a remedy we can never obtain?

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

Blessings, Mrs. Mac


#2

With God, all things are possible.


#3

:thumbsup:Definitely!!! Also if you surround yourself with only good people, there’s a lot less temptation to worry about.


#4

Good books, good friends, and good Confession make a good boy - Saint Don Bosco

Rely on God, His Grace is enough!


#5

“Trust in God, and lead not unto your own understanding. And He will make straight your path.”

Thank you all who responded.

Blessings, Mrs. Mac


#6

Protestantism often treats the matter you decribe as if God had given us laws we can never fulfill-and that Jesus’ sacrifice gets us off the hook, so to speak, by imputing His righteousness to us so we don’t have to fulfill them. There’s much vagueness as to if or when we can reach a state of perfection later on. Catholicism teaches that God would not give laws to man that he could never fulfill, but that we need His help in order to fulfill them. Fallen man requires a direct relationship of love and obedience to the very “item”, God, Himself, that he rejected at the fall in order to be capable of living up to His will.

The bottom line is that all sin is a result of a lack of love in one way or another for God and neighbor and concupiscence is that desire that continuously strives to convince us that we’re better off committing the sin, or less-than-loving act. The answer, according to the Church, is a process whereby God molds us, with our cooperation, into beings with new hearts-where He fulfills the prophecy in Jer 31 which is quoted in the NT in Hebrews:

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more." Heb 8:10-12

This is the essence of the New Covenant which Jesus instituted for us and this is why Jesus Christ is St Pauls’ answer when he asks the same question you do concerning our struggle with sin in Romans 7. God promises to put His laws in our minds and write them on our hearts so long as we persevere.


#7

Both Mystical and Spiritual Theologies deny the existence of attachment to sin, per se. One can be attached to sinful acts, which quite different. Attachment to sin is attachment to evil. Man, by his very nature, is created free of evil, meaning that evil has no power over man, because of his free will. Secondly, as Augustine tells us, it is man’s nature to look for what he believes is good for him. Therefore, it would be contrary to man’s nature to search out sin.

That being said, man searches out what he believes is in his best interest. However, that may be something sinful. In other words, what we believe may be in our best interest may actually hurt us. Therefore, we must always check out what we’re contemplating against the backdrop of Church teaching and revelation to be sure that what we’re seeking is really what we want. Often, that which we believe we want, is not.

In the end, what man really wants is happiness. But happiness is not always as identifiable as we think. A thief may believe that happiness is to be found in wealth. Not having the means to attain wealth, he resorts to stealing. In reality, he is pursuing a deception. First, wealth is not able to provide happiness. In this case, the person who believes that it can, is mistaken. He will find that out as soon as he finds that he has to exert more energy protecting his wealth and stretching it out, than he did attaining it. Second, that which is not live, cannot fully satisfy that which is, meaning man. The reason is very simple. That which is beneath us cannot provide us with that which transcends us. It is only that which is above us that can fulfill us, not that which is beneath us.

In the end, man does not really want sin, man wants happiness. But believing that certain things, actions, people, situations and events can provide that happiness he succumbs. What he succumbs to is something that is beneath his own state and therefore fails miserably at making him happy. Thus the real definition of sin, as posed by Mystical and Spiritual Theologies. Sin is that action by which man seeks his happiness where it is not to be found, thus turning his back on the true source of his happiness, which is God above him.

How that is applied to daily life is another theological and spiritual point of great importance. Since man can never exist without the desire for happiness, because to do so is naturally impossible for him, then man will always exist with the temptation to search for it in the wrong places. Meaning, that man will never live without the temptation to sin. The temptation to sin is as much a part of man’s nature as is man’s search for God. The two searches are part of the human tension with which we must all live. Thus sanctity becomes a heroic achievement, because it involves man’s personal and fee choice to search for happiness above him in the transcendent, rather than beneath him in that which dies with him.

What makes saints is our resolve to find happiness where it cannot be destroyed and where it cannot be reduced to dust along with our mortal bodies at the time of our death. That is God. It is the constant effort to do what leads us to God and what brings us to live not only in the spirit of faith, but in faith’s spirit, which is the Holy Spirit itself living within us that purifies the soul, leading us to the ultimate union with everlasting happiness which is found only in the Trinity. Therefore, the object is not to live without temptation to sin or without sin around us. The object is to live in the Spirit that Jesus lived, always seeking to do the will of the Father. This is what we in Mystical Theology call the Trinitarian existence of man. But to living the Spirit in which Jesus lived so as to fulfill the will of the Father, is to live in a state of tension between the lower passions, as the mystics described it and the higher passions, the higher passions being that which transcends our existence, because it resides in God.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#8

Both Mystical and Spiritual Theologies deny the existence of attachment to sin, per se. One can be attached to sinful acts, which is quite different. Attachment to sin is attachment to evil. Man, by his very nature, is created free of evil, meaning that evil has no power over man, because of his free will. Secondly, as Augustine tells us, it is man’s nature to look for what he believes is good for him. Therefore, it would be contrary to man’s nature to search out sin.

That being said, man searches out what he believes is in his best interest. However, that may be something sinful. In other words, what we believe may be in our best interest may actually hurt us. Therefore, we must always check out what we’re contemplating against the backdrop of Church teaching and revelation to be sure that what we’re seeking is really what we want. Often, that which we believe we want, is not.

In the end, what man really wants is happiness. But happiness is not always as identifiable as we think. A man may believe that happiness is to be found in wealth. Not having the means to attain wealth, he resorts to stealing. In reality, he is pursuing a deception. First, wealth is not able to provide happiness. In this case, the person who believes that it can, is mistaken. He will find this out as soon as he finds that he has to exert more energy protecting his wealth and stretching it out, than he did attaining it. Second, that which lacks eternity, cannot fully satisfy that which is destined to live forever, meaning man. The reason is very simple. That which is beneath us cannot provide us with that which transcends us. Only what is above us can fulfill us, not that which is beneath us.

In the end, man does not really want sin, man wants happiness. But believing that certain things, actions, people, situations and events can provide that happiness he succumbs to that which is sinful. What he succumbs to is something that is beneath his state and dignity; therefore, it fails miserably at making him happy, thus the real definition of sin, as posed by Mystical and Spiritual Theologies. Sin is that action by which man seeks his happiness where it is not to be found, thus turning his back on the true source of his happiness, which is God.

How that is applied to daily life is another theological and spiritual point of great importance. Since man can never exist without the desire for happiness, because to do so is naturally impossible for him, then man will always exist with the temptation to search for it in the wrong places. Meaning, that man will never live without the temptation to sin. The temptation to sin is as much a part of man’s nature as is man’s search for God. The two searches are part of the human tension with which we must all live. Thus sanctity becomes a heroic achievement, because it involves man’s personal and fee choice to search for happiness above him in the transcendent, rather than beneath him in that which dies with him.

We achieve sanctity by our resolve to find happiness where it cannot be destroyed and where it cannot be reduced to dust along with our mortal bodies at our death. That is God. It is the constant effort to do what leads us to God and what brings us to live not only in the spirit of faith, but in faith’s spirit, which is the Holy Spirit himself living within us, that purifies the soul, leading us to the ultimate union with everlasting happiness which is found only in the Trinity. Therefore, the object is not to live without temptation to sin or without sin around us. The object is to live in the Spirit that Jesus lived, always seeking to do the will of the Father. This is what we in Mystical Theology call the Trinitarian existence of man. To live in the Spirit in which Jesus lived, so as to fulfill the will of the Father, is to live in a state of tension between the lower passions, as the mystics described it and the higher passions, the higher passions being that which transcends our existence, because it resides in God and is God.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#9

Thank you, fhansen and JReducation, for your well-reasoned answers to my question. You have both been a blessing to me.

Mrs. Mac


#10

Here is something I found a little while back that was immensely helpful for me:

Plenary Indulgences: Not Impossible

Detachment from venial sin

The most problematic condition is:

…] the complete exclusion of any attachment to any sin, even venial,

This is not a new provision in the reform of Paul VI. Lépicier in his book Indulgences, their origin, nature and development reported a controversy which was widely current in his own time. Some theologians considered that the actual gaining a plenary indulgence was very rare.

…] whilst with regard to plenary Indulgences, they teach us in a dogmatical tone that exceedingly few are those who can gain it, and fewer still are those who actually do gain it – perhaps a holy nun in some remote corner of the world, or some saintly hermit dead to this life and its concupiscences. (page 341)

In countering this severe view of indulgences, Lépicier observed that falling into venial sin is not the same as having an affection for venial sin:

From the first no man, however holy, excepting Christ, and His Blessed Mother, can call himself free; but many should be, and in reality are, free from the second. How can we imagine faithful souls, that are anxious to please God, and daily seal this desire with the Bread of Life – and their generation, thank God, is not extinct – how can we imagine such as these to be wilfully attached to that which, though not causing eternal death, yet is infinitely injurious to the Divine Majesty? (page 343)

If there is any doubt about the more lenient view of “detachment from venial sin”, it is perhaps worth noting that this view was expressed in 1895 by a Roman professor of theology.

More recently, in the grant of an indulgence for the Year of the Eucharist, the Apostolic Penitentiary restated the conditions for gaining a plenary indulgence. However, when speaking of special conditions for those who are infirm, the official English translation reads:

…] as long as they are totally free from any desire to relapse into sin, as has been stated above.

We may treat the more “lenient” view as common teaching since the Church clearly intends to grant plenary indulgences that can be obtained by the faithful every day. It would not seem reasonable to do this if it were almost impossible to gain them in practice.

We may therefore encourage people to carry out the works prescribed for the gaining of a plenary indulgence (including, for many, a return to the sacrament of confession) without discouraging them by the rigorist opinion that a plenary indulgence can scarcely ever be gained in fact. It is also a good thing to pray before doing the indulgenced work, asking God to take away all affection for venial sin and conceiving in our hearts a hatred of any sin since all sins displease God who loves us so much.


#11

That’s a lot of helpful information. Can you tell us where it came from? Thanks.

Betsy


#12

Here’s the URL it came from:

the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2006/05/plenary-indulgences-not-impossible.html


#13

:slight_smile: Thank you! :slight_smile:


#14

We have to live not willing to enter into any venial sin, to not desire them. :slight_smile:

‘To abstain from sinful actions is not sufficient for the fulfillment of God’s law. The very desire of what is forbidden is evil.’

St. John Baptist de la Salle

‘. . . it is certain that, so long as the guilt of venial sin is not remitted, the punishment due to it cannot be remitted.’

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

The guilt of venial sin is not remitted as long as there is not repentance. There is not repentance as long as there is attachment. So, hate sin, hate temptations do not delight in them, and love God.

If you do not hate sin, you do not love God. But with hatred of sin you can overcome sin and so love God. :slight_smile:

All the ‘goods’ offered in temptations are emptiness and void, and worse, because they are nothing compared to God.

So the method for freedom from all attachment to sin is hatred of all sin, and love of God.

This method is achieved by constant thought of God, and recourse to His graces. :slight_smile:

'I have come to teach you the prayer which I made as a young girl when I was still living in the Temple. I resolutely decided in my heart that I wished to have God as father and I made up my mind to do whatever would please him, so that I might find favour in his sight. I made myself learn his law and all the commandments contained in it. In particular I committed to memory three commandments, being eager to keep them with the greatest care and with all my might. These are: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Love your neighbour as yourself. (Dt 6:5) Love your friend and hate your enemy." (Lv 19:18 and Mt 5:3) For I understood that man and angel were good, and my enemy was the devil and, insofar as he is evil, the evil man. From that love of God and neighbour, and from the fear and hatred of the enemy (that is, of the devil and sin), every fulness of grace and virtue has descended to me. That love cannot take root in the human heart unless there is there hatred of the enemy, that is, of the devil and sin.’

The Blessed Virgin to St. Elizabeth, from ‘The Revelations of St. Elizabeth of Toss’

‘Prayer is, beyond doubt, the most powerful weapon the Lord gives us to conquer evil passions and temptations of the devil; but we must really put ourselves into our prayer: it is not enough just to say the words, it must come from the heart. And also prayer needs to be continuous, we must pray no matter what kind of situation we find ourselves in: the warfare we are engaged in is on-going, so our prayer must be on-going also.’

‘God knows how useful it is to us to be obliged to pray, in order to keep us humble, and to exercise our confidence; and he therefore permits us to be assaulted by enemies too mighty to be overcome by our own strength, that by prayer we may obtain from his mercy aid to resist them;’

‘What shall we then do, my brethren? Do you not see that God is angered? He can no longer bear with us. The Lord is angry. Do you not behold the scourges of God increasing every day? Our sins increase, says St. John Chrysostom, and our scourges increase likewise. God, my brethren, is wrathful: but with all his anger he has commanded me to say, what he formerly commanded to be said by the prophet Zachary: And thou shall say to them, Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Turn to Me says the Lord of Hosts, and I will turn to you says the Lord of Hosts. Sinners, says the Lord, you have turned your backs upon me, and therefore have constrained me to deprive you of my grace. Do not oblige me to drive you forever from my face, and punish you in hell without hope of pardon. Have done with it: abandon sin, be converted to me, and I promise to pardon you all your offences, and once more to embrace you as my children.’

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


#15

‘In order that we may the better prove what has been said, it must be known that the affection and attachment which the soul has for creatures renders the soul like to these creatures; and, the greater is its affection, the closer is the equality and likeness between them; for love creates a likeness between that which loves and that which is loved. For which reason David, speaking of those who set their affections upon idols, said thus: Similes illis fiant qui faciunt ea: et omnes qui confidunt in eis. Which signifies: Let them that set their heart upon them be like to them. And thus, he that loves a creature becomes as low as that creature, and, in some ways, lower; for love not only makes the lover equal to the object of his love, but even subjects him to it. Hence in the same way it comes to pass that the soul that loves anything else becomes incapable of pure union with God and transformation in Him. For the low estate of the creature is much less capable of union with the high estate of the Creator than is darkness with light. For all things of earth and heaven, compared with God, are nothing, as Jeremias says in these words: Aspexi terram, et ecce vacua erat, et nihil; et coelos, et non erat lux in eis. “I beheld the earth,” he says, “and it was void, and it was nothing; and the heavens, and saw that they had no light.” In saying that he beheld the earth void, he means that all its creatures were nothing, and that the earth was nothing likewise. And, in saying that he beheld the heavens and saw no light in them, he says that all the luminaries of heaven, compared with God, are pure darkness. So that in this way all the creatures are nothing; and their affections, we may say, are less than nothing, since they are an impediment to transformation in God and the privation thereof, even as darkness is not only nothing, but less than nothing, since it is privation of light. And even as he that is in darkness comprehends not the light, so the soul that sets its affection upon creatures will be unable to comprehend God; and, until it be purged, it will neither be able to possess Him here below, through pure transformation of love, nor yonder in clear vision.’

St. John of the Cross


#16

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