Do we worship in a world of virtue, or live in a curse of sin?
We should know the difference between virtue and sin. However, has the realm of understanding made its way into our consciousness to discern when one or the other is relevant in any choice we make?
The theological virtues that govern any decision humans adhere to are deeply rooted in man’s spiritual development. As young men and women we should have been schooled In the way we act towards others. An example would be treating other children as if they were like us in essence, or not mistreating animals like pets in a mean way. As a result our spiritual understanding should reach out to our creator, God. Jesus, during his 3.5 years of ministry, left us with guidelines that were implanted in our psyche. Of course, there are always some who never receive these attributes, or once gaining their impact upon us refuse for one or more reasons to turn away and follow a life most should not.
St. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, spelled out the very tenets of the theological virtues, especially referring to love. It is usually the prime reading at weddings, and if exhorted in a welcoming manner will touch the hearing of those in attendance, and hopefully in the ears of the bride and groom. Upon this guideline we could all understand the true meaning of love. (see 1 Cor 13: 1-13).
After all of these virtues we must look at the way the deadly sins have made their way into our lives, usurped the teaching of right and wrong, and transposed the very thought of a righteous God who totally forbids them. That is what we learned as young children. Understandably at that age we may not have been able to discern the depths of the philosophies these attributes gave us, but on the edges of morality we had some idea of right and wrong.
What has entered the collective thought patterns of today’s citizens leaves all of us who fight for righteousness in a numb state of mind. Questions, such as why do gangs of young people act in such a violent manner? Who are they that have become the scourge of society? Where did all of this originate?
Let’s look at some of the eventful actions that have resurrected bad behavior in our current world. Pride, the exact opposite of learning humility. How often have we seen adults practicing a humble reaction to many actions that ruffle their feathers, using that expression? Children, or teen-agers pick up on that very quickly. Notice how very young children will come out with a four letter expletive. To our surprise we say where did he/she get that? Hm! I wonder.
Greed, a counter to being generous with our time or praise of something good. How about anger that can explode at any moment. Those so and so’s! Look what they did to my newly planted lawn. Wait till I get them next time they set foot on my property.
We need not go too much further separating peaceful expressions to anger turned into violence. Yes, we know Jesus took his anger out on the money traders at the temple. But, they were making a mockery of the temple and using a place of worship to cheat. “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have made it a den of thieves.” (Mk. 11: 17).
All of the sinful actions that are now perpetrating our once peaceful society have become free tickets to hatred, murder, common robbery of institutions or businesses, and the well accepted violence on common citizens. We used to think these happened elsewhere, not in America. Now, we are no longer free with a government looking out for its citizens, of a nation protected from across the sea, and for sure a certain protection of our precious children who are being scandalized by what we promised to keep them safe from.
Faith, a belief in a God who sent us his Son to free us from the corruption of eternal death.
Hope, the knowledge that Jesus died for our salvation and the signs that are there for the taking of his sacrifice.
Love, the deepest of virtues that Christ stands waiting for our acceptance of his Ascension to his Father's side.
Sin! The opposite of the theological virtues that will bring our souls to the realm of heaven. Here sin will enter hell without those of us who adhere to the goodness of Almighty God!
Ralph B. Hathaway