A Brief Update

au fond du lac

The lake upon which the cabin sat, wherein I made a day of retreat last week, beckons me to consider a retreat in its proper fullness.

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”

Friend, don’t dwell in greed, says Jesus, greed is one of the seven deadly sins. The Catholic Encyclopedia 1917 edition has this to say on mortal sin:

Mortal sin is defined by St. Augustine (Reply to Faustus XXII.27) as “Dictum vel factum vel concupitum contra legem æternam”, i.e. something said, done or desired contrary to the eternal law, or a thought, word, or deed contrary to the eternal law. This is a definition of sin as it is a voluntary act. As it is a defect or privation it may be defined as an aversion from God, our true last end, by reason of the preference given to some mutable good.

The definition of St. Augustine is accepted generally by theologians and is primarily a definition of actual mortal sin. It explains well the material and formal elements of sin. The words “dictum vel factum vel concupitum” denote the material element of sin, a human act: “contra legem æternam”, the formal element. The act is bad because it transgresses the Divine law.

St. Ambrose (De paradiso, viii) defines sin as a “prevarication of the Divine law”. The definition of St. Augustine strictly considered, i.e. as sin averts us from our true ultimate end, does not comprehend venial sin, but in as much as venial sin is in a manner contrary to the Divine law, although not averting us from our last end, it may be said to be included in the definition as it stands.

While primarily a definition of sins of commission, sins of omission may be included in the definition because they presuppose some positive act (St. Thomas, I-II:71:5) and negation and affirmation are reduced to the same genus. Sins that violate the human or the natural law are also included, for what is contrary to the human or natural law is also contrary to the Divine law, in as much as every just human law is derived from the Divine law, and is not just unless it is in conformity with the Divine law.

People ask all the time whether or not a particular sin is mortal or venial, and I usually get a headache responding. It can often be a very complex matter of understanding. But deep down, we do know when we’ve transgressed God’s laws. We are capable of knowing right from wrong.

I discovered the weblog Divine Ripples. I’m still in the discovery phase, but have been enjoying it so far.

And despite my reservations with RealCatholicTV, I do appreciate some of their things. This short episode on the Crusades is one of them:

And there it is, this evening’s brief weblog update. Peace, out.

1 thought on “A Brief Update”

  1. Thanks for the citation Fr. Allen. I shall put a link to your blog at Divine Ripples.
    Feel free to comment on my posts as I value the feedback of priests like yourself. I am still growing in the faith and you will find a lot of imperfections in my posts. I shall say a prayer for your ministry and yourself today. God bless.

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