A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"God made me this way"

We are all sinners, to one extent or another, and we are all subject to temptations of various kinds.

It is part of who we are as human beings in this world.

Some people, however, apply clumsy pseudo-logic to this fact and come up with the amazing conclusion that God is the cause of their temptation

The pseudo-logic is similar to a famous religious self-esteem slogan for children (and bane of grammarians): “God made me and God don’t make junk!”

For example, some might “reason” that “since God made me and I am a born kleptomaniac, therefore God made me a kleptomaniac. Moreover, since what God creates is good and God made me a kleptomaniac, therefore to be a kleptomaniac is good.”

On the contrary, in today’s first reading (James 1:12-18), St. James says this:

Let no man say when he is tempted,
I am tempted of God:

for God cannot be tempted with evil,
neither tempteth he any man:

But every man is tempted,
when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived,
it bringeth forth sin:
and sin, when it is finished,
bringeth forth death.

Do not err, my beloved brethren.

None of us are born perfect. We are born into a sinful world, marked with original sin, and limited by finitude.

Nor are we homogenous: every one of us is born and goes through life with a unique combination of imperfections.

None of this is the fault of God.

God did not and does not make us this way.

God simply allows these imperfections so that his grace may shine all the brighter in us as these imperfections are overcome in accordance with his often-mysterious but always loving will.

To be sure, even with these imperfections – whatever they may be – God has also blessed each of us with a unique combination of strengths as well as a fundamental, existential worth - because each of us has been created by him and because his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, died for us.

We do not need the fake self-esteem of empty slogans or theologies that try to cover over moral challenges with smiley faces.

What we need is grace.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:
for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.