Presence of God – O Jesus Crucified, give me the grace to understand the great malice of sin.
The essence of Christian perfection consists in union with God by charity. While charity, by conforming our wills to God’s, unites us to Him, grave sin, which directly opposes His will, produces the opposite effect. In other words, charity is the force uniting man to God, and sin the force drawing him away. Serious sin is therefore the greatest enemy of the spiritual life, since it not only injures it, but destroys it in its constituent elements: charity and grace. This destruction, this spiritual death, is the inevitable result of sin, the act by which man voluntarily detaches himself from God, the one source of life, charity, and grace. As the branch cannot live if it is separated from the trunk, neither can the soul live if separated from God.
God, the cause of every being, is always present in the soul of the sinner in the same way in which He is present in all creatures; yet He is not there as a Father, as a Guest, as the Trinity which offers Itself to the soul to be known and loved. Hence, the sinner, though created to be the temple of the Blessed Trinity, has voluntarily made himself incapable of dwelling with the three divine Persons and has barred his own road to union with God. He has, so to speak, obliged God to break all ties of friendship with him because he has preferred the temporal, fleeting good of a miserable creature—a selfish satisfaction, an earthly pleasure—instead of the sovereign good. This is the malice of sin which rejects the divine gift and betrays its Creator, Father, and Friend. “Oh! why can we not realize that sin is a pitched battle fought against God with all our senses and the faculties of the soul; the stronger the soul is, the more ways it invents to betray its King” (Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God, 14).
“O my God and my true Strength! How is it, Lord, that we are cowards in everything save in opposing Thee? To this, the children of Adam devote all their energies. Were not reason so blind, the combined energies of all men put together would not suffice to make them bold enough to take up arms against their Creator and maintain a continual warfare against One who in a moment could plunge them into the depths. But because reason is blind, they act like madmen courting death, for they imagine that this death will bring them new life: they act, in short, like people bereft of reason. O incomprehensible Wisdom! In truth, Thou needest all the love which Thou hast for Thy creature to enable Thee to endure such folly, and to await our recovery, and to seek to bring it about by a thousand kinds of means and remedies.
“It amazes me when I consider how we lack the effort to take in hand a very small thing, and how we really persuade ourselves that, even if we so desire, we cannot flee from some occasion of sin and avoid something which imperils our soul, and yet that we have effort and courage enough to attack so great a Sovereign as art Thou. How is it, my Good? How is this? Who gives us this strength?
“O Lord, what hardness of heart! Oh, what folly and blindness! We are distressed if we lose anything, the merest trifle. Then why are we not distressed at losing that great Treasure which is the Majesty of God, and a kingdom in which our fruition of Him will be endless. Why is this? Why is this? I cannot understand it. Do Thou, my God, cure such great folly and blindness…. The loss of so many souls hurts me so much that I am beside myself. I cry to Thee, Lord, and beseech Thee to give me the means of contributing to the winning of souls by my prayers, since I am not good for anything else…. It seems to me that I would willingly sacrifice a thousand lives to save even one of the many souls which are being lost! I believe, Lord, that You treasure one soul that we gain for You by our prayers and works, thanks to Your mercy, more than all other services that we can render You” (Teresa of Jesus, Exclamations of the Soul to God, 12-14; Foundations, 1; Way of Perfection, 1).
Note from Dan: These posts are provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contain one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art/Photography:, CCA-SA, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.