Les Femmes

Dear Readers,
We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no fool like an old fool.” Some of us illustrate it like I did when my husband and I were in Austin for Thanksgiving. We went with our son and several grandkids to a skateboard park. (Can you guess where this is going?) Kids skateboarding everywhere and making it look easy. Well, what’s a gramma who’s still 12 on the inside do? I decided to try it without a moment of hesitation to ask myself, “Are you crazy?” I put my left foot on the skateboard and when I lifted my right for the push off the skateboard went forward and I went backwards landing on my shoulder and hip. Thankfully, I just bruised my hip, but I ended up with a “massive” rotator cuff tear complicated by an apparent previous injury that I never knew about (perhaps from falling off a horse). So I ended up in surgery with a sports specialist at UVA. The local orthopedic doc wouldn’t touch it.

All the excitement of doctors’ visits and discussions of alternatives got me thinking about the consequences of bad choices. It only took a split second of stupidity to give myself a big problem with no quick solution. The doctor says this has a slow recovery and it’ll be six months or more  if the initial surgery goes well. If not…well, that’s another story.

Think about it. I made a dumb choice. Granted it could have been a whole lot worse. I could be an honorable mention in the Darwin Awards dead from a skull fracture. Instead, I just regret forgoing the moment of foresight warning me that Gramma on a skateboard is a bad idea…a very bad idea. But at least my choice was just a mistake with no moral dimension. My regret has no bitterness attached to it. In fact, the initial reaction of almost everyone is to laugh. The doctor at Urgent Care said, “It’s more interesting than falling off a curb.”A friend offered, “You’re grandkids must think they have a pretty cool grandma.” The admissions receptionists at the specialist’s office said (with a grin) “Oh, I heard about you.” I’ve become a source of entertainment.  On the other hand, how many people laugh when a woman discusses her abortion…or a homosexual shares his AIDS diagnosis…or a Wall St. insider  describes how he defrauded little old ladies out of their life savings?

The essence of all evil in the universe is the attempt of the creature
to repudiate
its dependence
and become a god.

Fr. Gerald Vann, OP

Sin is never a laughing matter. It’s a tragedy. And sin has consequences much more serious than the physical outcome of my skateboarding accident. Even if I hit my head and died, that would only affect my mortal body. But the one who chooses deadly sin is a metaphorical zombie – the living dead. His body may live, he may even be one of the beautiful people, but until he repents, he is the spiritual equivalent of a rotting corpse. Not only that, but the more evil choices one makes, the harder it is for the corpselike soul to repent. Habitual sin darkens the intellect, weakens the will, and kills the conscience. A dead conscience and an intellect and will wed to evil are unlikely catalysts for repentance.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) describes mortal, or deadly, sin as “a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back.” (1861) That’s a wake-up call, one our culture sorely needs. Can anyone deny the growth of grave sin everywhere, especially the scandalizing of the young?

The CCC also points out the sinfulness of cooperating in sin. How many consider themselves “good people” while cheering for sins that cry to heaven for justice, i.e., murder of the innocent, sodomy, ignoring the poor, and exploiting the wage earner? Yes, grave sin floods our culture and many have closed their eyes and killed their consciences while pretending to be “good people.” But freedom is a gift that carries a grave responsibility. God desires us to freely choose to love Him and show that love by serving our neighbors. We are beloved children of the King, but can make ourselves zombies by using that blessed gift of freedom for evil. What a tragedy to face God on Judgment Day in mortal sin having rejected His love and chosen our own sinful desires instead.

Let us constantly call one another to repentance for sin as the greatest act of charity. I may be an old fool when it comes to skateboards, but I pray to be wise about loving God, avoiding sin, and urging others to repent. In this new year of grace - 2014, I commit myself to examining my conscience daily, praying for sinners, and going often to the Sacrament of Confession where the doctor of souls waits. The surgery He performs through His priests will always bring a cure for sincerely repentant souls. May we never be afraid to take advantage of that holy medicine.

Les Femmes is a founding member of the Catholic Media Coalition a group of print and electronic publishers. See www.catholicmediacoalition.org

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