Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Excerpt on the Justice of Penance

I am now more than 2/3 through the second draft. Here's an excerpt from the chapter on penance:

"Sin isn't committed in a vacuum; it affects other people. There is no such thing as a private sin. It's like the natural environment we all share. What we do on our own property touches others. Running a factory that emits billows of black smoke or dumps toxic waste into the waterways is going to affect many beyond our own boundaries. If, on the other hand, we plant trees, which absorb carbon monoxide and give off oxygen, that will freshen the air for everyone, beginning with those closest to us. It's the same in the spiritual world. Even the most private and hidden sins hurt others. Even the most hidden acts of charity help others.

"Furthermore, mankind is in a sense a single organism, so everything we do either spiritually helps or harms everyone else. In the First Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul spoke at length of the ramifications of our being one body in Christ, concluding, “If one member suffers, all suffer together" (1 Cor 12:26). On a spiritual level, every sin we commit, even in secret, makes the world a little darker; every Christlike thing we do, even in secret, makes it a little brighter. Thus we need to make reparation to our fellow man as well as to God."

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