So I was wondering if this was “normal”… For some reason, when it comes to sins where I feel a great and almost unbearable temptation, I always somehow manage to persevere, but then, if I’m presented with the same sin, but the temptation feels somehow “less”, and maybe the circumstances are different, I’ll suddenly commit the same sin I wouldn’t have before. And it always hits me out of nowhere, and it’s so stupid. :shrug: Any thoughts? Thanks.
There’s an old saying in AA, OA, NA, etc. groups:
While I laid recuperating, my addiction was out in the hallway doing pushups.
It’s a combination between the strength of the temptation and our own weakness. It sounds like you are more likely to sin because you are getting caught off guard. So even though it may be a “weaker” temptation, because you are caught off guard, you are defending against in full strength. I find meditative prayer helps with this greatly. Spend some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and don’t say hail marys or rosary’s, etc. But just simply meditate on God. You’ll find yourself getting easily distracted, but over time and with practice, this helps.
Just a thought.
When our lives go well, we often forget to acknowledge God’s blessing upon us.
When our lives meet adversity, we turn back to God and remember to ask for His help in our lives.
I think this is where we are asked to “Pray always.”
And to remember as St. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:
Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
This reminds me of economics. Inflation according to our economic school of thought (the Austrian School) is everywhere and anywhere a bad thing. In fact, most economic schools see inflation as a bad thing. However, what distinguishes between us (Austrians) and the mainstream is that they desire a “low inflation rate”; as long as it is not hyperinflation, it is acceptable (generally said to be around 2%-4%). One economist however calculated that an inflation rate at a meager 2% would wipe out consumers’ purchasing power within a generation. That isn’t even including taxes…
In the same way as the inflation rate, the devil is a great strategist, and he is probably using this as a way to drag you into a life of “acceptable sin”. Let’s assume that we can quantify sin and God’s judgement. On a scale of 0-100, anything above 50 (included) is a mortal sin. Anything below 50 is a venial sin. Let’s suppose that a small lie has the quantity of 10, whilst a lustful thought has the quantity of 60. Let’s say on an average week, you told no lies, but everyday you had 1 lustful thought. That’s quite serious, is it not? That adds up to a total of 420 sin-units on God’s Sin-O’-Meter (60*7=420…I’m sure St.Michael or someone else does the counting :p). You really, really, really want to change. So, the next week, you make a change. But this time, you told 4 lies (40 sin-units everyday, making 280 in total per week), and no lustful thoughts. Life is great, isn’t it…you’re actually an average of 140 sin-units less compared to your first spiritual state every week. But only one thing! Lies are exponential (So 1 lie leads to a bigger lie, which leads to an even bigger lie, which leads to a bigger lie…). So instead of an exact linear relationship, we now have an exponential relationship. So…(4 * 10)^4 * 7 = **17920000 ** sin-units every week! Even the dark forces of the netherworld envy you now
I’m in a state of mortal sin , but I did ask myself what you’ve been pondering about. I eventually came to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to simply be a good person…try not to distinguish between a “venial sin” and a “mortal sin”. Jesus instructs quite specifically that we are to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). When one does that and tries to avoid whatever is sin, they’ve pretty much covered all bases, and hopefully they can get that Sin-O’-Meter down to 0 *
*The mathematical example of course neglected the fact that Mass removes all venial sins, but if I took that into account, I’d be here all night trying to make a calculation for a decent example ;).
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk