What Jesus’ Teaching Exacts
Presence of God – O Jesus, I beg You to make me understand all Your instructions and then give me strength to put them into practice.
In calling us to imitate the holiness of His heavenly Father, Jesus summons us to an unrelenting war against sin, which is in direct opposition to God’s infinite perfection and is the greatest offense against Him. In all His teachings He tries to inculcate in us a deep hatred of sin, especially of pride, hypocrisy, and obstinate willful malice, all of which constitutes a state of complete opposition to God. Jesus, who shows such great mercy toward sinners, has scathing words for the Pharisees: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites: because you are like to whited sepulchres…. You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:27, 33). Again, He describes the ugliness of sin and its disastrous effect on man, lowering him to a state of complete moral degradation, such as that of the prodigal son who, because he had left his father’s house, was reduced to “feeding swine”? (Luke 15:15).
“Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin” (John 8:34); a slave of sin cannot be a servant of God; hence, the words of the Master: “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).
Jesus, our Savior, came to destroy sin by His death; it is precisely by His death that He shows us most clearly the terrible malice of sin. Sin is such a great enemy of God and has such a destructive power that it brought about the death of the divine Master.
O Jesus, I beseech You to fill my soul with a sincere and profound hatred of sin, of every kind of sin, so that I shall always be ready to prefer any suffering, even death, to offending God. Make me see, O divine Master, that the only real evil which can befall me and from which I must always pray to be delivered, is sin; for sin is such an enemy of Yours that it caused You to be scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to the Cross. Sin made You shed all Your Blood and die in terrible torment. O Jesus, You taught us to ask our heavenly Father to “deliver us from evil”; make use of Your power of intercession; show Your Father, who is ours, too, the still-bleeding wounds of Your Passion, and obtain for me and for all faithful souls, the grace to be freed from the terrible evil of sin. O Jesus, must one make a distinction between serious sin and venial sin, between sin and imperfection?
“From any sin, however slight, committed with full knowledge, may God deliver us, especially since we are sinning against so great a Sovereign and realizing that He is watching us! That seems to me a sin committed of malice aforethought: it is as though one were to say: ‘Lord, although this displeases You, I shall do it. I know that You see it and I know that You would not have me do it; but, though I understand this, I would rather follow my own whim and desire than Your will’” (Teresa of Jesus Way of Perfection 41).
With Your help, O Jesus, I want to fight more strongly against sin and try to overcome all my evil tendencies, inclinations, and habits. This exacts constant self-denial, but with Your help, I am ready to begin. Of course, I shall have to give up my own desires, but I shall do so in order to please God; I shall have to say “No” to my evil nature, and prefer our heavenly Father’s will, His inspirations and wishes. It will mean dying to myself in order to live by You, O Jesus! If I really love You, shall I find this total self-denial hard? Oh! grant that I too may say with St. Paul, “I count all things to be but loss … and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ and may live in Him” (cf. Philippians 3:7, 9).
Note from Dan: This post on what Jesus’ teaching exacts is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains 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 for this post what Jesus’ teaching exacts: Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees, James Tissot, between 1886 and 1894, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.