… Diets suck. They suck because they remind us there’s a flaw in our physical well being. And being physically healthy is work. Sin sucks too for the same reason in that because of it we are reminded of the flaws our in own human nature. Sin effects our spiritual well being and makes us spiritually unhealthy. Not only that, being free from the grasp of sin is hard work too. Nothing is every easy. And if it tastes good and we are tempted it’s probably horrible for us.
You may have issues with your weight or be suffering from a lack of energy due to a poor diet and you wake up one day and resolve that today is the day. You are going to have bran and fruit for breakfast and throw all the carbs in your cabinet out. You decide to make it a point to get thirty minutes of daily exercise because if you don’t you are slowly killing yourself.
And you do good for awhile. Even a whole month. And you think, whew, look at all this hard work I’ve been doing. I feel great. I look great. I deserve a reward. I can take a day off from exercising, maybe two. And then two days become three and three becomes a week. I think I’ll eat this whole cake because it’s cake. Oh, what diet?
Then you spiral. Ugh, I am so lazy. I have no follow through. I lost 10 pounds and gained fifteen back. I’m going to eat more cake and try not to think about how tight these jeans are. I lost it once before, I’ll lose the weight again. I’ll hop right back on the health wagon… tomorrow. After I finish this cake.
Then there’s sin. Some people can live with sin everyday, like a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle, and think nothing of it. And others, like the dieter, wake up and firmly resolve to sin no more. Excitedly they go out seeking the sacrament of reconciliation and high on freshly shriven zeal make promises to themselves to practice acts of prayer and piety everyday. Workout that spiritual muscle of the heart. Read the bible every day, perform acts of charity. Become a saint overnight. Look out heaven, here I come.
Then just like that, you crash. I crash. It starts innocently enough. Maybe I’ll fall asleep in the middle of day four of a novena, wake up frustrated but determined to pray two days the next night only to fall asleep again or forget all together. There’s always something on TV, like a Walking Dead marathon or something to do on the computer, like blog or putz around on facebook.
Sin is like a dieter’s struggle with weight. Not that forgetting to finish a novena is a sin but it is an act of spiritual exercise that makes us stronger to resist the temptations of sin. Sin is the cake. And once you take that first bite it’s very very hard to resist the urge to finish off the entire cake, especially if you’ve been neglecting your spiritual exercises.
Sure you think… eh, I can always go to confession and start over. But again to use the dieter analogy; for every ten pounds lost you gain fifteen. Now convert those pounds to sins. Before you know you are heavily burdened under the excess weight of all those sins. Forgiven by the sacrament of reconciliation, yes, but you still have to burn off all those sins before you can enter into heaven. Does that make Purgatory one big sauna where sinner’s stand around sweating off their sins. I guess in a way, yes.
And the other thing about sins and diets, and this is perhaps the most damaging to our health and soul, is that with each failed attempt at weight loss and piety you feel less and less self worth. Like a failure. Which in turns feeds your hunger and your sinful habits. It’s a vicious cycle really.
They say that when you are on a diet and you’ve been doing well you should reward yourself with a little treat. Thing is, I can’t stop with one little treat. If I so much as nibble a crumb of cake I want the whole thing. No, for me it’s best to keep walking past the bakery window without so much as a glance.
In that same way, you never want even the tiniest nibble of temptation that leads to sin. Not a nibble, not even a whiff. Once you missed that first Sunday obligation you figure why not… I’m already in a state of mortal sin – what’s one more piece of cake at this point? And one more piece. One more sin. And you’ve eaten the whole cake and your bloated on your sin.
I think I have a point, and it’s not that cake is bad for you. It’s that sin is and it’s best to not sin at all. The way to avoid sin is though rigorous spiritual exercise like prayer and acts of kindness and charity. And if you do sin don’t wait, not for a minute, to make it right with God through the sacrament of reconciliation. Every day you put off confession is a day left open to wallow and multiple your sins, to grow fatter and fatter under the burden.
This week is Holy Week and the perfect time to confess all your sins. It’s also the perfect time to resolve to seek the sacrament of reconciliation on a regular basis; not to put it off till we can barely walk from the weight of it all. Don’t let sin spiritually cripple you and don’t let cake make you fat.
That is it really. Seek confession, be holy, and when you mess up don’t wait to make it right. And stay away from cake. That junk will kill you.