Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace?
By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Sin is the subject about which Paul speaks to the Romans in the first reading today. Sin and evil are subjects I tend to downplay in my own thinking and prayer. Confession is a sacrament I do not take advantage of frequently. Paul’s comments make me think about two references to sin which cause me to reconsider how little attention I pay to sin and evil.
The first is new and very refreshing. When asked who Jorge Mario Bergoglio is, Pope Francis responded “I am a sinner.” He went on to say “I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” I know several other very holy Jesuits who would respond in the same way as our new Pope. I am certain they have a far deeper appreciation of sin,; an appreciation from which I would greatly benefit.
The second is almost five hundred years old. It comes from the first week of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. The grace of the first week of the Exercises is to know oneself as a sinner and to know with absolute certainty that God loves me, continues to create me, and invites me into more intimate union despite my sinfulness. It sounds to me like the Lord has given Pope Francis that grace of the first week of the Exercises in great abundance.
So, I resolve to more earnestly consider what sin and evil are in my life. I ask the Lord to bless me with the grace of the first week of the Spiritual Exercises.
—David McNulty is the Provincial Assistant for Advancement, Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits
Help us, Lord, to live with no regrets. Are there talents we have not explored? Are there dreams that we have toyed with but have not given the proper attention? Are there friendships that we have put to the side until our lives slow down? Has our sense of gratitude become dulled? Do we keep looking to the future when we will finally focus on our spirituality?
This day, Lord, we want to live in the now, present to all the good things in our lives. We ask for your wisdom so we do give priority to that which really matters. Abolish our regrets as we seek to find you in the ordinary twists and turns of the day.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!