People would never sin
If they were aware that each time they sin
It is themselves they are damaging – Anthony de Mello
This message left a lasting impression in me and what a bold statement to make. As I was reflecting on this statement I realized how apt this was for us. If only we knew the damage the sin causes in our lives we would stop sinning. We are in the season of lent, fasting and praying and preparing for the passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
Lent gives us a perfect opportunity to take a stock of our lives and make penance for all the sins committed by us intentionally or unintentionally and it gives us an opportunity to go back to the Lord saying like the prodigal son, “‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ And I am sure like the Father in the parable our Father in heaven will also welcome us as he did by saying, let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
In the parable the son receives forgiveness and goes back to the Father’s house. But what is left unsaid is that the prodigal son continued to live with his Father never sinning again. We see the Samaritan woman doing the same thing when she realizes that Jesus is the Messiah and He is our living water she leaves her sinful ways and brings others to God.Saul a staunch Jew took it upon himself to kill all the people who followed Christ but when he encountered Christ he chose to leave his life behind and worked hard from then on not only to lead a sinless life but lead others to the risen Lord.
We too have a choice not only to confess our sins and go on to a sinless life like them and St Paul says: “He gave himself for our sins in order to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal 1: 4). So we can confidently say that we have been forgiven our sins but have we earned the forgiveness. Do we strive to lead a sinless life? Rather than asking the Lord forgiveness for our sins, can we ask the Lord for the grace to lead a sinless life?
We need to be filled by the grace for us to lead a sinless life and let us see how we can be filled by grace
- Avoiding all Sinful Situations
Let us look at the life of Joseph the forefather. He had an opportunity to sin when his Master’s wife invited him to bed with her. His response was, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Gen 39: 9). Joseph was in a situation to sin but he chose not to. We see in the book of Daniel how Daniel refuse to defile himself by eating the food served to the Royals. We see that both Joseph and Daniel had an opportunity to sin and chose to avoid the situation, the people, the food etc. how many of us can proudly say we can do this.
- Attending Mass Regularly
When we listen to the word of God every day and receive the Holy Eucharist we are filled by the grace to resist sins and all the situations that lead us to sin.
3. Going for Regular Confessions
Confession gives us an opportunity to lose the old self and be born again and this is what Jesus meant
when He said Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (Jn 3: 3). At confession when the priest absolves us from our sins we get an opportunity to be born again and not sin again
4. Reading the Word of God and Reciting the Rosary
The Bible is filled with verses to help us overcome the temptation of sins and by reading the word and reflecting on the word of God and the rosary provides us with a shield as we step into the world filled with sins and protects us from falling into temptation So in this Lenten season let us give up our sinful ways and like Paul, the Samaritan woman and the prodigal son choose to leave our sinful ways behind, and remember at every opportunity that Jesus gave his life to save us from our sinful ways and lead a life pleasing to the Lord and in our small ways bring others to the Lord.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first” (Mt 12: 43- 45). we can do all the confessing we want and attend as many retreats as we can unless we ask to be filled by the grace we will be like the person mentioned in the above verse and the live a sinful life worse than before.
Like St Paul says we can do nothing on our own but by the grace of God. So let us pray for this grace and ask for the spirit to guide us in our earthly life.