By Deacon Frank Agnoli
(Editor’s note: Deacon Frank Agnoli presents the second in his series of articles on the healing sacraments. He is director of liturgy and of deacon formation for the Davenport Diocese.)
Based on the work of St. Augustine, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines sin as “an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as ‘an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law’”(# 1849).
The language of “love” is important here. All sin eventually comes down to a failure to love — to put God and others first! It’s important to remember that, as human persons, we are made for God, for relationship. Addressing God, St. Augustine put it this way in his Confessions: “Our hearts are restless, until they rest in you!” Restless hearts; that sure describes us!
Because God gave us the gift of freedom, we can choose: do we find our ultimate rest in God, or do we go looking elsewhere? Because that gift has been damaged by original sin, we don’t always choose wisely or well. Our restlessness takes us away from God instead. That’s why the Church has a body of moral teachings: to help us learn, realize, discern what are the most loving actions we can take.
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