Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The price of a soul

As a Catholic, I am well aware that if you die in the state of mortal sin, thus without having repented, then the soul goes to Hell. This is something frightening to think about at times. It is hard to turn away from sin, because as humans, we are often weak; "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Mt 26:41) said Jesus to Peter. Peter, who was our first pope, denied Jesus 3 times because he was scared. Like Peter, we often sin because of our emotions, or indeed our desires. For example, we love that chocolate, so we eat the whole bar out of gluttony; we wished we'd have gotten that promotion and feel we'd have been good at it, thus feeling proud and envious. Those are just a couple of examples. Therefore, we have to be extremely careful about how our emotions affect us, and always be on guard against sin. From experience, I know this is easier said than done!

I have read that it is good to go to confession regularly, even if you haven't committed any mortal sins, because by being 'laid back' about the 'lesser' sins, they can soon become mortal. It can even happen that after not going to confession for a while, or after failing to control oneself, you enter in to despair and think, "I don't care anymore...I can't do it" or "I can't be saved anyway". We must never think this. God can save us. We need to be willing to get rid of our sins and ready to pick ourselves up each and every time we fall. Also, during times of emotion, we need to call on Jesus to help us in a situation. Pray until our anger/despair/pride/gluttonous feelings have faded enough for us to take control again.

This takes effort and practice...something I have not mastered yet by a long shot! But when I look at someone like St. Therese, I know it can be done. Having trust in the Divine Mercy of Jesus (that He forgives us and so avoiding wanting to 'give in', as well as calling on the help of the Holy Spirit regularly will help. It is possible to receive many graces from prayer, confession, the Eucharist and Adoration...and with trust in the Lord, it is possible to improve and avoid sin.

How do I know? Through regular examination of my conscience, I know exactly which areas I am weak in...and mostly what I need to do to put things right. I have discovered that I have a lot of pride and I like people to think well of me. This is a selfish sin, which means there are times I put myself in front of others. To try and be more charitable, I have therefore offered to volunteer at a local youth group. This is just one of many examples and just one of my faults.

So why did I call this blog The price of a soul? Well, the 'price' of my soul is something I am starting to think about at some times when I am about to sin. I am taking things in small steps...I will tell you to humble myself and try to offer some advice that may help you:

1) I have tried to avoid all occasions of mortal sin (which was hard for a while and still is - there is no becoming complacent);

2) I have attempted to identify links between sins, then work on them. E.g. as mentioned above, I have realised I have lots of pride. Therefore, this is the sin I am working hard at to get rid of. When I become better at this, I will move on the the next sin I have trouble with. An example, to give you an idea, may be fasting more and abstaining from meat on Fridays and Wednesdays to get rid of the sin of gluttony.

3) How much is my soul worth? Is it worth those unkind words to someone? Is it worth that big bar of chocolate? No!

If I want to become a good nun, then I must be conscious of the impact of each of my sins, on: i) others, ii) my soul and iii) Jesus (not necessarily in that order). Our sin always affects others in some way or other. E.g. if I eat that big bar of chocolate, I am not showing any restraint, and going by those we impact, above: i) I am not having compassion towards the starving in the world. Through gluttony, we have become obese, thus putting strain on health services that could be used to help others and we may also be shortening our lives, which affects our families. ii) Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, so is a destructor of the soul (and as above, affects our health), iii) imagine the sadness of Jesus to see us greedily indulging in something that is doing the opposite of drawing us to Him.

What I will try to remember is that my soul is worth more than a bar of chocolate. My soul is worth every effort to remove myself from sin...shedding it like the skin of a snake. One day, with the help of the Lord, I will emerge a beautiful butterfly from this ugly cocoon of sin that surrounds me.

By the way, a caterpillar spends most of its life eating.

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About Me

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I've just turned 27 and am entering Carmel on 24th January 2009. My first full day will be on 25th January, the Conversion of Saint Paul, of whose year this is and whose school I went to and sisters I loved. So I am depending on him to help convert me into a good Carmelite! I've wanted to become a nun on and off since the age of 11. Although I can't remember the moment I felt drawn to Carmel, I think it was partly because of reading about St Therese when I was 11 or 12. I feel I may have a natural inclination towards this way of life, altough getting up at 5.30 will not feel natural, I'm sure! I spent 2 weeks as an Aspirant in October 2008 and I loved it and came back feeling that I should go back and see if becoming a Carmelite is the Will of God and my route to holiness.

Saint Therese