Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Lenten Preparation Reflection from Fr. James...

“…a thorn in the flesh was given to me...” (2 Corinthians 12: 7). No one really knows what caused St. Paul to struggle, but there was something that really bothered him. He pleaded with the Lord that his difficulties be taken away, but Paul received an answer that he was not looking for: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9).

We all take as a given that the goal of Christianity is entering into eternal life; however, attaining this goal requires intense daily effort on our part. The spiritual life is not an easy endeavor because of our wounded human nature. True, Baptism washes away original sin, but we are left with the effects of original sin. We do not have complete control over ourselves. The spiritual life is a continual battle.

Because of original sin, our weakened wills and darkened intellects will always move us in the wrong direction. Continual effort is necessary to control the inner movement of our ego and allow the presence of grace to take control of our thoughts, desires, and actions. The battle of the spiritual life might be compared to walking in a river against the current. If we do not continue walking or reaching out toward a rock for support, then the current will most assuredly carry us in the opposite direction.

The Catechism tells us, "Because man is a composite being, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between spirit and flesh develops. But in fact this struggle belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of the spiritual battle” (CCC #2516).

If the spiritual life is a continual struggle because of original sin, the present...(Continued here at Fr. James's blog.

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