Monday of Holy Week (John 12:1-11)
I recently gave a parish mission and one of the topics covered confession with special emphasis on the value of frequent confession. While studying in preparation I discovered this wonderful quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."
This quote helped me to realize what venial sin does to me. It helped me realize the value of frequent confession. If I put off confession for too long, my goodwill becomes "impeded" and I become disposed "little by little to commit mortal sin."
I liken this to a garden. Our souls are gardens, virtues are the fruit bearing plants, and the weeds are sin. If I we are careful to keep watch over our souls (garden) we can remove the weeds when they are small and easy to remove. At the same time we must feed and water the plants. We must foster growth in the virtues and be sure they receive enough sun (Son). When we neglect the soul for too long, the weeds (sins) have a chance to take root and they become more and more difficult to remove. Long periods of neglect make it nearly impossible to distinguish the plants from the weeds. Yet we must never despair. Even if our garden has long been neglected and the soil become hard and the thorns overgrown, Christ can help us to start again. It may be more difficult than when we first began but it is possible to cultivate a beautiful garden (soul) no matter how neglected it may be.
In today's Gospel we are given a picture of what a soul looks like that is falling to neglect. We see a man whose "little" sins are more and more disposing him to commit the ultimate sin; to betray the Son of Man.
Judas, no doubt began with a good heart. Surely Jesus had a great love for Judas to choose him as a close follower. Yet Judas allowed himself to be overrun by his love for money even to the point of seeing the hidden value in the apparent "waste" of the expensive nard. As Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, "[Judas]knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." His growing greed impeded his growth in Christ. By saying yes to himself each time he took a little from the "money bag" he found that he could not say no to himself when the ultimate temptation came but instead said, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?"
Let us therefore run to Christ and confess often even those little things before they become unmanageable and take root. Otherwise we too may be more and more disposed to betray Our Friend with a kiss.
FROM THE SAINTS - "While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call "light": if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession." - Saint Augustine