Evening Prayer (“Magnificat” version) this evening included James 1:15: “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.”
This reminded me of Blessed John Paul II’s term, “culture of death,” which includes sins of concupiscence / the flesh.
Such sins in particular destroy the human individual, marriages, families, and society at large. Via unchastity, the using and abuse of others, inordinate and excessive emphasis on worldly pleasures, a plethora of addictions (drugs, alcohol, pornography, masturbation), self-deprecation and mutilation, hatred, murder… the list goes on… the human soul no longer teems with life, but is blackened by death.
Even when it might “feel good” at first, the soul is slowly… being killed… dying. One day, it’s dead. It’s over.
And like James 1:15 says, it all starts in small, subtle ways. Very lovely-seeming ways. Our inordinate desires can deceive us. Satan uses them to steer us off course from the Giver of LIFE… from a Culture of LIFE.
But you know what is so beautiful?
Jesus Christ has already won the battle! By His Passion and His Resurrection.
Jesus assures us: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11).
The question is: will I let Him conquer my heart?
O, if I but let the thorns of his crown pierce my hardened heart… it will become flesh again. It will become alive again.
I must think this over and over in Lent! How can I continually let Him give me life as He is wanting? More and more abundantly?
As Jesus said “no” three times to Satan, who was tempting Him in the desert (when He was famished from fasting), I too can say “no” to Satan.
I have nothing to fear! Only my mediocrity, my own lack of courage.
By saying no to my (inordinate) desires this Lent (with which Satan so subtly plays), I can let the Culture of LIFE triumph in this battle in the world of LIFE vs. death.
LIFE will win. Christ Jesus assures me of that!