Abiding Sorrow for Sin

This morning, I found myself even more disheartened than usual. The scandalous torrent of filth in the Church seems to be gathering strength and there appears to be no end in sight. I know you must be disheartened too but we must remind ourselves to make good use of the sorrow that this unfortunate pope (and his unchaste prelates) deals out to us every day.

Love Crucified

No one at all is more practical than Our Lord Jesus Christ. He was not engaging in mere sentimentalism when He said that He wished to place devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary alongside of devotion to His Most Sacred Heart. Far from it! He was giving us the simplest, easiest and surest path to Him!  We know that love requires an act of the will towards the good, and who better exemplifies this that the Blessed Virgin Mary, who taught us by her example the way of true love.  She will teach us in the school of her Immaculate Heart.

And one of the first lessons she teaches us is abiding sorrow for sin. For we stand today at the foot of the Cross, attending the Crucifixion of Love. As we respond to the call of love, we cannot but have sorrow for our sins and for the horrendous sins of the leadership of the Church. This unfortunate person who purports to be the very Vicar of Christ on earth denies or obfuscates concepts such as sin, hell and God’s righteous wrath in favor of the “progressive” concepts of “accompanying” and “dialogue” and being  “non-judgemental”.  Therefore, as an antidote to this error (for it is a deadly error) we offer a few excerpts from the essay by Father Faber, “Abiding Sorrow for Sin”. As we read it, we note that we make the most acceptable reparation for the sins of the hierarchy when we have first resolved to make reparations for our own sins.

From Father Faber’s Essay:

All penances come to nought which do not rest on Christ, just as all good works crumble away which do not rest upon Our Saviour,-so in like manner all holiness has lost its principle of growth if it is separated from abiding sorrow for sin. For the principle of growth is not love only, but forgiven love.

Father Faber in his essay, notes that the Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Lord Jesus Christ, although perfectly sinless were nevertheless filled with an abiding sorrow for sin.

“Their life of penance consisted in some measure in an abiding sorrow from first to last. The first moment of conception was the full use and complete energy of reason. But reason dawned upon a wonderful, deep, and fixed sorrow.

“From that instant till the moment of death the sorrow abided with them. It put itself in harmony with every kind of feeling. It adapted itself to all circumstances. It never darkened into gloom. It never melted into light. It lived on the present, and the clear view of the future was part of its present, and it never let go its hold of the past. It was keen and distinct in the soul of Mary, while she magnified God in the exultation of her Divine Maternity. In the ever-blessed soul of Jesus it dwelt amid the fires of the Beatific Vision, and was not consumed.

“It was a beautiful mystery of perennial sorrow. The characteristics of this sorrow were that it was life-long quiet, supernatural, and a fountain of love. These features of if are very much to be weighed and observed. For when we come to look at ourselves, whether it be the rare few who have preserved their baptismal innocence and whose souls are only charged with venial sins, or the great apostles, unrivalled amidst the Saints, confirmed in grace, and whose grace was superabundant, or the mass of men, whose best estate is that of repentant and returning sinners,-we shall see that no sorrow is possible to us which shall unite these four characteristics except the abiding sorrow for sin. It is as much life-long with us as anything can be. It Is a prominent part of our first turning to God, and there Is no height of holiness in which it will leave us.

Our Guardian Angel in Our Souls

“It is the interior representation of our Guardian Angel in our souls, and the disposition and demeanour he would fain should be constant and persevering in us. It is quiet. Indeed, it rather tranquillizes a troubled soul than perturbs a contented one. It hushes the noises of the world, and rebukes the loquacity of the human spirit. It softens asperities, subdues exaggerations, and constrains everything with a sweet and gracious spell which nothing else can equal. It is supernatural. It is all from God, and all for God.

“It is forgiven sin for which we mourn, and not sin which perils self. And this very fact makes it also a fountain of love. We love because much has been forgiven, and we always remember how much it was. We love because the forgiveness has abated fear. We love because we wonder at the compassion that could so visit such unworthiness. We love because the softness of sorrow is akin to the filial confidence of love. Thus abiding sorrow for sin is the only possible parallel in our souls to the mysterious life-long sorrow of Jesus and Mary; and the fact that sorrow clung to them characteristically in spite of their sinlessness seems to show how much of the secret life of Christian holiness is hidden in its gentle supernatural melancholy.

“Moreover, it was impossible not to perceive that under a variety of names, – sorrow, repentance, fear, and the like,- Scripture speaks of an abiding penance, of fearing always, of fearing forgiven sin, of passing the time of our sojourning in fear, of the sorrow which is unto life. It never contemplates the possibility of the dispositions of repentance ceasing; for the single passage of St. John about love casting out fear, is hardly to be understood of this life. So that there seems to be a precept of always sorrowing for sin analogous to the precept of always praying, and subject to the same kind of difficulties in its interpretation.

“Now what does this abiding sorrow of Scripture mean? Certainly not austerities; for they are occasional and intermitting. Certainly not sadness, which is sorrow with self in it and where God should be. Certainly not human melancholy, which is either a consequence of sin or a fruit of idleness or a disease of a deranged bodily system. (…)

In an interesting observation appropriate to our time, although I’m sure that Father Faber would never have imagined these tragic events, he notes that some sins haunt our imagination, “making it often, to use the forcible words of Scripture, like a cage of unclean birds”. . . “It consists also in a growing hatred of sin,- an increase of the spirit of Gethsemane in our souls, a communication from that solitary mystery beneath the olive trees, when even apostles slept.

“It is the Sacred Heart touching our hearts, and leaving faint stigmata of His own lifelong sorrow upon them.

“It consists in a growing sensitiveness of conscience as to what is sin. Ineffably bright as is the sanctity of God and His refulgent glory, to gaze upon it strengthens our soul’s eye (the) unworthy and dishonourable in actions. We discern the complication and mixture of motives more distinctly. And entangled in a confusion of infirmities, a very inevitability of imperfections, where self-love can find no single resting-place for the sole of its foot, we grow in a divine sadness which humility and faith will not allow to be disquietude.

“With all this, and in the way of consequence, our personal love of Our Most Blessed Lord increases, and love of Him as our actual Saviour from sin. It is our joy to “call His Name Jesus, because He saveth His people from their sins.”

Sweetness

It “inclines to prayer, brings pleasure in prayer, and though a sorrow, is itself a sweetness. It is very confident, and its confidence rests solely upon God. It lives by the fountains of the Saviour’s Blood, weeps silent tears like one who is continually hearing good news, and is hopeful. This affectionate sorrow delivers us from many spiritual dangers. It throws a tenderness into our whole character, and makes us deep and pliant. It brings with it the unction of that special gift of the Holy Ghost which is named “piety.”

“It also saves us from making light of venial sins, and is always stopping (even when we know it not) little untruths, teasing jealousies, wounded conceits, and sins of the tongue. For it is the sorrow which was the Lord’s mantle. We are holding the sacred fringe, and virtue goes out of Him into us, and the issue of the bleeding soul is stayed. The fruits which it produces in us are of equal importance with the dangers from which it preserves us. It makes us charitable towards the falls of others, and this reacts upon ourselves in the way of an increase of humility.

“It involves a continual renewal of our good resolutions, additional reality and fortitude in our wish to do more for God, and an increasing power of perseverance, with more stability and less effort. It blessedly diminishes our taste for the world and its pleasures. It flings the charm of heaven around us, and disenchants all other spells. It leads to a more fruitful, because a more reverent, humble, and hungry use of the Sacraments; and no grace that comes to us is wasted while this sorrow possesses our souls.

“There is nothing which makes our endurance of crosses more patient or more graceful,- nothing which gives us so calm and fertile a pertinacity in works of mercy to others. We are always flooded with inward tenderness, so that there is not an ache or a pain in one of Christ’s members which does not awake our sympathy and find its account in our sensibility.

We obtain this healthy and necessary sorrow for sin by our quiet prayers with Our Lord considering His Sacred Passion. To this end, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of Our Dear Mother’s Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament when possible, or if not, before a Crucifix, is most helpful.

“Devotion to Our Lord’s Passion is meant for the daily bread of Christian thought, and it keeps fresh and new in this sorrow as in a genial atmosphere. Our perceptions of the invisible world become finer and keener; we are more liable to be excited by spiritual interests, and more alive to the soul’s wants and dangers; and there is about us a liveliness of thanksgiving which only shows the copiousness of the hidden joy in this apparent sorrow. . .

In closing, Father Faber reminds us, “I am confident no vocation to perfection will be frustrated by a soul in which there is this abiding sorrow for sin. It is the quintessence of devotion to the Sacred Heart, and it is there that we must seek it.”

Now, regarding the above, don’t let me catch you cringeing from the exhortation to become perfect, you know full well that it is Our Lord Himself who has so called us. And never before has there been such dire need of souls determined to become perfect by their total consecrations to the Immaculate Mother who unites us securely with her Divine Son. She is our secure path through this; she, the Mother of Sorrows!

I hope that some of this essay has been profitable for you, for I like you, dear readers, am sorely in need of God’s grace and wisdom to deal with this terrible trial. But let us help each other in prayers, in penances, in all things trusting in His mercy and in the love of our Mother most merciful, Lady of the Rosary.

Thank you for reading, I pray for you always!

My reference for this essay is from the Kindle Book, “The Catholic Collection” provided by Catholic Way Publishing. It contains 734 Catholic essays and costs only $2.99