What Ants and Sin Have in Common

What Ants and Sin Have in Common

What Ants and Sin Have in Common

I’d intended to return from my weekend away and offline with some type of mind-bending post on Lumen Fidei, or a at the very least a recap of the incredible things I learned from the various kilt-wearing-Guinness-chugging reenactors I met this this weekend at the Scottish Highland Games in Monterey. But then I returned home after my road trip and discovered a downstairs full of demons: ants!

Our weekend family road trip bliss was destroyed by the colony that had set up camp in our absence. I first found them in the laundry room, adjacent to my kitchen. I killed the first ten, hoping (in ignorance) that their encroachment was contained to the detergent bin area.

Wrong.

Long story short, I’m now exiled from my home. We did battle last night, finding the source in our backyard and their trail of evil doom leading to a sliver of a crack in the foundation. My husband, an able handyman, fought them valiantly and we drifted off to sleep upstairs, blissfully hopeful that the worst was behind us. Unfortunately, my first stop this morning — at the coffee pot — indicated otherwise. Of course “handyman” was at his day job saving lives in the Emergency Department, so I was left to fend for myself. The teen was woken from slumber to help me empty the entire kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. The pest control company was placed on high alert and told that they needed to come today, immediately, not on Thursday as they had originally proposed. We scurried to ready ourselves for the professionals, let them in, and then left — locked out of our own home base while they took on the little demons. When I return home in three hours, I’ll survey the damage and put the pieces back together. In the mean time, my kitchen, laundry room and guest bath will obviously get the “spring cleaning” they so desperately needed, after having been bombed with all kinds of chemicals.

Normal housewives would see an ant attack for the menace it is. They would clean up and move on.

Apparently I’m not normal. As I killed ant after ant this morning, my mind wasn’t on how many embarrassing crumbs were hiding in nooks and crannies. No, not me.

I was thinking about sin. About ants, and sin.

And the similarities.

Ants are sneaky.
You see one or two of them, and it’s easy to ignore them.
You see three or four or five, squish them, and move along.
You see ten and suddenly you’re paying attention.
You see fifty and reach for the bug spray.
You see two hundred and  start to consider looking for the source, the root cause of the swarm.
You see a thousand and call in the professionals.

If you’re smart, when you finally get to that “calling the professionals” stage, you’re ready. You have the number for a pest control company. The company is open, and they’re not too busy with other people’s termites to fit you in. Best case scenario: they come out, fumigate, and you’re done with the problem. But more than likely they’ll warn you on their way out the door that you need to be “vigilant”. Survivors, strong ants or those who might have been smart enough to hide from the poison, will show up. They’ll invite their buddies and if you’re not careful, your pest problem will recur. If you don’t change your ways, you’re in for long-term trouble.

Sound familiar?

Yes, I concluded this morning that ants and sin have much in common.

We sin all the time — “little sins“, solitary instances of commandments broken — or so we tell ourselves. Sins continue to mount, to pile up and we (or perhaps I should be saying “I” because maybe you don’t…) do all we can to turn a blind eye. We ignore, we justify, we rationalize. We do everything but deal with the root cause, because that takes too much effort.

It’s not until we are overrun by our sin — when it hampers our very ability to exist — that we finally get motivated to do something about it.

And when that moment comes, we need help from the outside — it’s time to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Confession. Without the grace of absolution, our ability to be truly clean, truly whole, truly free of enemy encroachment is impossible. And even with Reconciliation, the remnant of our fallen nature leaves us prey to repeated episodes of sin. We must be vigilant, watching for the conditions that leave us prey to evil. We have to create the pristine environment that keeps our souls sin-free. Are we willing to make the effort?

As I’m in the midst of my ant-battle, as well as the constant battle for my soul, I can’t foretell the resolution. I’m hoping for the best – for a quick clean up, a change in my ways and the fortitude to do what I know is necessary to keep both ants and sin at bay.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms.

  • Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

    Great post. Ants are a common problem this year!

  • HeatherRenshaw

    Great analogy, Lisa! We recently had a smallish bout with ants. Yuck! You know what else in the natural world reminds me of sin? Weeds.

  • Kimi Brown

    I wonder if my confessor will mind being referred to as “The Exterminator”??? Great article!

  • http://www.thepracticingcatholic.com/ Lisa Schmidt

    I will never look at ants the same way again. And I thank you for that! :) And why am I itchy all over?

    • lisahendey

      Hilarious girl – and yes, itchy… I feel like I’m going to have nightmares tonight about being covered in them!! Sorry…

  • Lisa Mladinich

    My “sins” are showing up as fleas on my dog, who I stupidly forgot needed protection as we headed into flea season. Too late!!! “Lord, make haste to help me!” I failed to be vigilant. Lisa, this is a GREAT analogy. Thanks! I really enjoyed reading this post.

  • Deanna Bartalini

    Whenever it rains, we have ants. Since it’s the rainy season now, I’ll have more to ponder as I kill the ants.

  • Nancy Ward

    Ants and sins. Both get into our lives. Both are hard to get rid. But our sins have a Savior and I’m not sure about the ants.

  • Sarah

    I really enjoyed this analogy, Lisa. Thanks for sharing! I also will never look at ants the same way, which is a very good thing. Thank you!

  • SACHIN

    THE ONLY WAY TO REMOVE SIN -Is To Submit To Lord Jesus Christ And Your Self Effort WILL DO NOTHING Don’t Try On Your Own,Confess Pray And Submit To Jesus Christ ONLY HE CAN HELP ONLY HE CAN HEAL ,You Can’t Do This On Your Own.

    • lisahendey

      Thanks for commenting. I’m definitely not trying to — nor capable of — removing sin on my own. Here’s Catholic teaching on the sacrament of reconciliation: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm which might help you in understanding the teachings of the Church on this topic.

      I’ll share one small quote from this:

      “Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God’s forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.38

      Only God forgives sin”

  • http://inspiredangela.wordpress.com/ Angela Sealana

    Booo bugs! Now if only I can pull a Lisa Hendey and figure out what God’s trying to tell me with all the wasps on our balcony… :) Great post!

    • lisahendey

      Thanks Angela – it’s just another sign of what a horrific homemaker I am that I have to dream up blog musings to get myself through routine domestic responsibilities. But in this case, I think the ant analogy holds up…


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