“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 John 1:5)
It can be helpful to look at God as Un-sin. In fact, it is very helpful to realize that sin always harms us (that is, always), so that if we are tempted to sin we might want to consider its harmful consequences (and our sin doesn’t just hurt us : – it also hurts those around us).
It is also very helpful to realize that we cannot be united to God in Heaven – in a union of pure and everlasting love – until we, too, have become un-sin. “Nothing impure shall enter Heaven” (Revelation 21: 27).
C.S. Lewis even remarks that we won’t want to enter Heaven until we have been totally purified of sin! In Letters to Malcolm, Lewis says the following:
Would it not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’? Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt, you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.” (C.S.Lewis, Letters To Malcom, chapter 20)
So it is helpful to see our lives as a process of becoming un-sin. This is why we were baptized! This is why we love Confession! This is why we love the struggle involved in living the spiritual life! We desire to become un-sin! Saint Catherine of Siena can be our spiritual director: she says, “Hate sin, love virtue.”
Now if we look at the beginning of the Kingdom of the Incarnation, we can see that it constitutes a major invasion of un-sin: in Jesus who is Infinitely Un-sin; in Mary Immaculate, conceived without sin; in Saint Joseph, the lily of purity; and in Saint John the Baptist, sanctified in his mother’s womb (Luke 1: 15) And the Apostles, too, through trial and struggle, became increasingly holy and un-sin. Sin, the deadly enemy, is confronted by un-sin at the commencement of Jesus’ Kingdom. There is no stronger and more continuous condemnation of sin than in the 27 documents of the New Testament (it is in this light that I must say that Pope Francis’ seeming aversion to preach Catholic morality is so very troubling).
One day – it must happen! – we too will be un-sin, perfectly united in Heaven to Un-sin, our Heavenly Father, who sent His son, Jesus, to conquer sin for us. The Bible puts it this way:
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
When we enter Heaven we will be un-sin, and we will never sin again! Praise God! There are painful purifications ahead, both here on earth and then – for most of us – in Purgatory. These painful purifications are – as Ralph Martin says – our friends. We need grace. Jesus has merited for us a superabundance of grace. Jesus says, “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). But here’s the good news: Jesus, who is Infinitely Un-sin, lavishly shares His Life with us (most especially in the Holy Eucharist), so that we might truly be to the Father – through our sanctification – Jesus’ Unsinful life.
Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us!
Tom Mulcahy, M.A.
Note: Many or most of the saints, entering into mystical contemplation, receive a special, supernatural knowledge of the Infinite malice of sin against an All-Holy God, which is why the Saints speak so forcefully against sin. It is Father Faber who uses the expression, “Kingdom of the Incarnation.” Reflecting back at God’s work at the beginning of the Kingdom of the Incarnation, beginning with the Immaculate Conception, we see God’s love of purity. Father Faber states: “…God’s works are so many mirrors in which He allows His creatures to behold the reflection of His invisible perfections and hidden beauty….”
Image: Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pompeo Batoni, 1767, Public Domain, U.S.A. In the all-important devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus a “great horror of sin” is a key component of the devotion (see p. 97 of The Devotion to the Sacred Heart by Fr. John Croiset).
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