THE FALLEN NATURE OF MAN – THE PROBLEM THAT CAUSES US TO ALWAYS BE IN TEMPTATIONS

For certainly, death came through a man. And so, the resurrection of the dead came through a man And just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be brought to life, (1 Corinthians 15,21-22)

THE FALLEN NATURE OF MAN

Let us begin by understanding sin. Sin is all selfish acts, disordered attachments and self-gratification or indulgence which are opposed to the life of Christ which is selflessness, love and mercy. We as people of God are to renounce this ego-driven, self-centred and self-gratifying lifestyle for the life of selflessness we are to live in Christ and this can only be done through the accepted power of God functioning in our soul.

POINT 11: HUMAN BEINGS FELL AND WOUNDED THEIR HUMAN NATURE AND THE ORDER OF THE WORLD; THIS IS THE REASON WE ARE CONSTANTLY FACING TEMPTATIONS

The reason why we humans are a constant trouble to ourselves and the world naturally bring suffering to all creatures can be seen in the revelation recorded in the book of Genesis 3:1-19.

And Saint Paul also expresses this same truth revealed in his letter to the community of believers in Corinth For certainly, death came through a man. And so, the resurrection of the dead came through a man And just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ, all will be brought to life. (1 Corinthians 15,21-22). An examination of the points of this revelation emphasizes the points that Christ and the first man, Adam seem to possess certain attributes; 1) as the ones who were pure of original sin they possessed the power to have a mystical solidarity with all humans that exist throughout time. 2) this mystical solidarity is far stronger than any other mystical connection shared among humans.

In our mystical union with Adam, we all offended God, this is compared to our mystical union with Christ through which we become pleasing to God. The actions of Christ are not ours so are the actions of Adam, but these two are points of mystical convergence and we have the connection of mystical solidarity with them. We only share in Adam’s guilt in our actual sins and we share Christ’s merit in our repentance.

Drafted from wikipedia.com:

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all humans. Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants a human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”. As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).”

“St. Anselm refers: “the sin of Adam was one thing but the sin of children at their birth is quite another, the former was the cause, the latter is the effect” [66] In a child original sin is distinct from the fault of Adam, it is one of its effects. The effects of Adam’s sin according to the Catholic Encyclopedia are:

1. Death and Suffering.

2. Concupiscence or Inclination to sin. Baptism erases original sin but the inclination to sin remains.

3. The absence of sanctifying grace in the newborn child is also an effect of the first sin, for Adam, having received holiness and justice from God, lost it not only for himself but also for us. Baptism confers original sanctifying grace, lost through Adam’s sin, thus eliminating original sin and any personal sin.” (wikipedia.com) [1].

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“The Catholic Church teaches that every human person born on this earth is made in the image of God. Within man “is both the powerful surge toward the good because we are made in the image of God, and the darker impulses toward evil because of the effects of Original Sin”.  Furthermore, it explicitly denies that we inherit guilt from anyone, maintaining that instead we inherit our fallen nature. “In other words, human beings do not bear any ‘original guilt’ from Adam and Eve’s particular sin.”

“The Church has always held baptism to be for the remission of sins including the original sin, and, as mentioned in Catechism of the Catholic Church, 403, infants too have traditionally been baptized, though not guilty of any actual personal sin. The sin that through baptism is remitted for them could only be original sin. Baptism confers original sanctifying grace which erases original sin and any actual personal sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that in “yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state … original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed”—a state and not an act” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 404).

This “state of deprivation of the original holiness and justice … transmitted to the descendants of Adam along with human nature” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 76) involves no personal responsibility or personal guilt on their part (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 405). Personal responsibility and guilt were Adam’s, who because of his sin, was unable to pass on to his descendants a human nature with the holiness with which it would otherwise have been endowed, in this way implicating them in his sin.” [1].

WHAT THEN IS CONCUPISCENCE?

From simplycatholic.com:

Msgr. William J. King wrote a short story in 2013 explaining what concupiscence is. We can read the interesting illustration below:

“The mechanic at the repair shop explained to the frustrated vehicle owner that the wheels of his car were out of alignment. The mechanic asked if the driver had recently driven through a pothole or perhaps had hit a curb. He explained that this could be sufficient to have forced the wheels out of alignment. All the driver knew was that it took a lot of work to drive straight down the highway with the car constantly pulling off center. Without constant attention and constant adjustment of the steering wheel, the car tended to drift off the road. “One big pothole can do that,” the mechanic informed the puzzled driver, “and after that, it’s almost impossible to go straight without constant correction.”

“What’s true for an automobile is, in this sense, also true of the human soul. Theologians have long attempted to explain humanity’s tendency to veer off course: one big sin (that of our first parents in the garden) and it’s almost impossible to go straight without constant correction. Keeping in mind that the New Testament word for sin is hamartia, a Greek word that literally means to miss the mark or to veer off course, we might say that after original sin it’s nearly impossible to stay on the “straight and narrow.”

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Theologians call this tendency to sin “concupiscence.” The word concupiscence is defined as a strong desire, a tendency or attraction, usually arising from lust or sensual desires. It is, morally speaking, the tendency to go off course. Concupiscence is understood as an effect of original sin that remains after baptism. The waters of baptism cleanse us of original sin itself, but concupiscence remains as a lingering effect. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death … as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence” (No. 1264, emphasis in original).”

“To use another analogy, medical research cautions that a severe sunburn early in life will render a person more susceptible to dangerous skin cancer throughout life. That early sunburn may heal fairly quickly, but its effects last through life, increasing vulnerability to cancer. Precautions must be taken to shield the skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s radiation since there is a greater susceptibility to skin damage after that major sunburn.!”

“With constant attention, or more accurately with the acceptance of God’s constant outpouring of grace, the human person can be unaffected by this tendency to drift off course”.

“A driver who is attentive to the path ahead can constantly adjust for a misalignment in the car’s front end, keeping the car moving toward the goal of the driver. Indeed, the Council of Trent noted that concupiscence “cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ” (Catechism, No. 1264). It is prevenient grace that precedes our thoughts and actions, waiting for us when we are tempted by concupiscence to go off course. By availing ourselves of that grace, we are enabled by God to resist the tendency to sin and instead to stay on the morally proper course.” (simplycatholic.com) [2].

Most human beings suffer very serious spiritual and psychological sicknesses and torments because they keep struggling poorly with this injury which makes them tempt themselves, though we can make serious progress in counteracting this through applying God’s grace.

POINT 12: WE MUST LEARN TO SEE GOD AND HIS LOVE IN OUR NEIGHBOURS WHO ARE BROKEN BY ORIGINAL SIN

Drafted from coraevans.com:

“In a society that applauds sexual liberty, excuses rape, defends same-sex “marriage,” and promotes contraception and abortion based on the loose definition of “love wins,” St. John Paul II reminds us that love is love only when it is lived through the lens of self-sacrifice. If we base our idea of love on attraction or other fuzzy emotions, we gravely misunderstand the truth about love.”

“We need only look to the Cross in order to discover what love – and Who Love – is. Jesus set the example of total self-giving to the point of death, and that is what we must do in order to truly choose love. We must die to ourselves in order to will the good of another person. As St. John Paul II so succinctly explained in his Theology of the Body, the opposite of love is not hate; it’s using someone. Here are some quotes from him that express this properly:

1. “Darkness can only be scattered by light, and hatred can only be conquered by love.”

Hatred is a potent and (ironically) despised word, yet many of us carry seeds of bitterness and resentment in our hearts toward a person or people. This is often due to residual unforgiveness. We actually extend mercy to ourselves when we choose to forgive, which in turn leads us to love.

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2. “A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.”

We use people through manipulation, complacency, or apathy. When we take others for granted, we often end up using them to serve our needs, rather than considering how we might be called to oblige them. When we will the good of another person, we necessarily forget ourselves – our comforts, selfish desires, jealousy or pain, etc. – and instead desire to serve our neighbour or loved one through acts of charity.

3. “Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of real love.”

In a recent radio interview, I heard bestselling author Kevin Vost mention that the most-needed virtue today is that of temperance because most of us are immersed in our gluttonous habits, which include food, sex, online gaming, and other indulgences. Chastity must begin as an act of the will, then become a desire of one’s heart, followed finally by a choice to refrain from intemperate behaviour, both sexual or non-sexual.

When we have conquered our inordinate sexual desires, we dwell in true freedom and are then capable of giving another person – our spouse – ourselves freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully.

4. “Do not forget that true love sets no conditions. It does not calculate or complain, but simply loves.”

It’s not simple for most of us to love in this way – without calculation, without complaint, without conditions. We prefer to have reciprocity in our relationships, so that we give a little, and they give a little. But if we love purely, truly, then we will give our all without expectation of any response, gratitude, or comparable gesture of goodness. It’s not that we permit people to take advantage of us, but rather that we respond to the Holy Spirit’s movements when He asks us to give a bit more…sometimes [so much it] hurt.

5. “Freedom exists for the sake of love.”

As one who writes about grief and redemptive suffering, I am often asked about the existence or benevolence of “a god” who would permit suffering and evil. My response always comes back to free will. God’s love for us is so immense that He doesn’t force us to always do what’s right. Instead, He wants us to act upon good when both good and evil are presented to us.

That’s real love on both accounts – that God allows us to choose, and that we opt for loving Him over rejecting Him.

6. “Take away from love the fullness of self-surrender, the completeness of personal commitment, and what remains will be a total denial and negation of it.”

It’s tempting to ride the wave of emotive “love” while it lasts, and then allow ourselves to move on elsewhere when it is “over”. This is a selfish, rather than self-surrendered love, because it is based on feelings of warmth and affection rather than a decision to deny ourselves and work toward the good of our loved ones. Without faithfulness, love withers and dies. (http://coraevans.com) [3]

References

  1. Wikipedia.com 2019 – original sin – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_sin

2. simplycatholic.com – Concupiscence: Our Inclination To Sin  – https://www.coraevans.com/blog/article/the-10-best-st-john-paul-II-quotes-on-love-of-all-time January, 2019.

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