A Catholic-themed opinion blog about various topics, including theology, philosophy, politics and culture, from a Thomistic perspective.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Error and Forgiveness

Since I'm human, I obviously have weaknesses to sin and temptation, as we all do. But one thing I have noticed in myself, and something I wonder about in regard to all people, is mental error. By this, I don't mean ignorance or mental illness. I simply mean the errors in focus, memory, emotion, reasoning, etc., which we all have. These errors can cause someone to sin, especially a sin against truth. For example, if someone asks of your belief in the Eucharist and you tell them it is the "real presence", rather than transubstantiation - not out of ignorance, but simply misunderstanding and confusion. That is wrong, and can lead the other person to heretical belief. And mental error can also lead to moral sin as well. For example, if someone know that pride is wrong, but misunderstands and thinks that gossip isn't wrong, that is a sin. These are just examples, which could be replicated in many different scenarios.

To me, this is very aggravating. I know that if someone doesn't do a sin with full knowledge, it isn't a mortal sin. But it is still venial and should be avoided if possible. I hate when I sin; it disgusts me and I regret it deeply. I think I should be able to have the awareness and love to not sin, and so if I do sin, it is a personal fault of my heart and mind. This is true, I think, but I often fail to realize that I *will* sin regardless, because I'm human. Self-forgiveness can be very hard.

But from a non-sin standpoint, mental errors also annoy me incredibly - unfortunately, also when I see others do it. Just errors of logic, order, hearing what someone says clearly, reading something properly, etc. I hate it when I do it, and I hate to say it, but I am prone to make fun of others who do it too - and we all do. I have spoken to my priest about it, and his answer made complete sense. It is simply difficult to put into practice. Hopefully through prayer and mortification I can learn to forgive and love, even in the face of sin and mistakes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Creative Catholicism

Most Catholics seem to think that to be a saint, to be holy, means to be uniform, to conform to the ways saints have done it in the past. No - being human is being an individual. Everyone is different, distinct. Yes, we’re all similar, and we should learn from others both present and past. But we each have our own unique personality, perspective, ideas, thoughts, experiences, etc. on life and spirituality.

Though we won’t truly create, since God is the only Creator of anything truly new, we create new emphasis and perspectives, highlighting certain aspects of Truth and showing it in a new way based on our unique viewpoint. All saints throughout history have done this - even those who lived in complete simplicity were different. And being new doesn’t mean being revolutionary. It simply means giving a new contribution. Evidence of this beyond the saints is the Bible. Each book is a new experience and a new perspective from a different author.

As Christians, we have an advantage: God, the Author of Creation, tells us His meaning. Life becomes an allegory for Him. While in literature this would give no input from the reader, in Christian spirituality, God is always a mystery, always beyond us in His infinity. Thus, there will always be a new way to see His Truth, and we can simultaneously correspond to God’s message and contribute our own ideas. Most are either too afraid, too humble, or too indifferent to do this.