The Weight of Sin

Yesterday’s post on sin by Ven. Archbishop Sheen was so well received that it seems an opportune time to second it with another essay, this time on the suffering which Our Blessed Lord endured because of sin; this time by St. John Henry Newman. I have added some emphasis. We begin with Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane:

And now, my brethren, what was it (Jesus) had to bear, when He thus opened upon His soul the torrent of this predestinated pain? Alas! He had to bear what is well known to us, what is familiar to us, but what to Him was woe unutterable. He had to bear that which is so easy a thing to us, so natural, so welcome, that we cannot conceive of it as a great endurance, but which to Him had the scent and the poison of death. He had, my dear brethren, to bear the weight of sin; He had to bear our sins; He had to bear the sins of the whole world.

Sin is an easy thing to us; we think little of it; we cannot bring our imagination to believe that it deserves retribution, and, when even in this world punishments follow upon it, we explain them away or turn our minds from them. But consider what sin is in itself; it is rebellion against God; it is a traitor’s act who aims at the overthrow and death of his sovereign: it is that, if I may use a strong expression, which, could the Divine Governor of the world cease to be, would be sufficient to bring it about. Sin is the mortal enemy of the All-holy, so that He and it cannot be together; and as the All-holy drives it from His presence into the outer darkness; so, if God could be less than God, it is sin that would have power to make Him less.

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