Every time a Catholic priest
celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, after greeting the people, he
introduces them into an examination of conscience. Everybody, the priest
included, should enter into the inner recesses of his heart, discover his sins,
and then confess publically that he/she is a sinner.
The Liturgy offers a variety of
penitential expressions. However, possibly the most well-known (composed by a
repentant sinner who became a great saint, Saint Augustine) is the “Confiteor”—“I confess….
As the prayer continues we arrive at
four different ways that we can sin and offend God: thought, word, deed, and
omission. Bad thoughts not rejected can become sins; lies are against the truth
and so we sin; stealing, we actively sin. Finally there is the sin of omission.
What does omission mean? Simply this: failing to carry out the
obligations that are imposed on us by our state of life. Being negligent, overlooking
responsibilities, cutting corners, choosing an easy path due to expedience, and
let us cut to the quick--- simply giving into
sloth or laziness often results in sins of omission!
Due to a poorly formed conscience,
all too frequently sins of omission are overlooked! Pope Pius XII expressed the state of
conscience in these penetrating words: “The sin of the century is the loss of the
sense of sin.” How many people, who
call themselves “Catholic” today, will not even approach the confessional
uttering these words: “I do not need to go to confession because I have no
Wrong! Only Jesus, the Son of the living God and
Mary His Immaculate Mother can honestly state that they are sinless from the
moment of their conceptions until death.
But as for the rest of humanity, we are born with Original Sin, have
strong tendencies toward sin, do not resist these tendencies and fall into
sin. The Bible says: “The just man falls seven times a day.” St.
John in one of his letters reiterates this:
“If we say we have no sin we are a
liar and the truth of God is not in us.”
Words quite blunt and clear!
The very name of Jesus expresses the
primary purpose of His mission. “Jesus”
means God saves. What did He come to
save us from? SIN! He was born, lived, suffered and died on the
cross and rose from the dead to save us from sin, the devil, and eternal
This being the case, what are some
concrete ways that we may be guilty of falling into sin, specifically the sin
of omission? In this short article we
will focus on the sin of omission related to our attitude and reception of the
One of the most painful thorns that
must pierce the most Sacred Heart of Jesus is INDIFFERENCE! How excruciatingly painful is the sin of
indifference! The last book of the Bible, Revelation/Apocalypse expresses how God views
indifference. “You are neither hot nor cold, I wish you were, but you are lukewarm. I
will spit you out of my mouth.”
Powerful words! How often in the
modern world, and especially among Catholics, is Jesus forgotten, put on the
back burner, and simply taken for granted?
Jesus said, “I have come to cast fire on the earth and I am not at peace until that
fire be ignited.” Lovers have
passion for human love. Millionaires exert themselves to the last ounce of their
strength to make money. Athletes train to the point of exhaustion. What about Catholics
who are called to follow Christ and pursue the pathway to holiness! We should learn from these worldlings!
SACRAMENTS. Let us start with the first of Sacraments in
our life, that which is called the doorway to the church, the portal or
entrance—the Sacrament of Baptism!
OBSERVATION AND COMMENTARY! These would be the most common manifestations
of negligence and omission on the part of parents that prepare to have their
children baptized in the Church.
UNMARRIED. Most parents that come in to have their child
baptized are not even married in the Catholic Church. Now you tell me! How can parents that have chosen a sinful
lifestyle of living in free-union or cohabitation teach their children the
basics of the Catholic faith? Even if
they knew their faith better then Saint Thomas Aquinas, still their lifestyle
contradicts the faith that they may profess with their lips. There is a poignant Argentine proverb: “Escribir con la mano y borrar con el codo.”---
“Write with your hand and erase with your
elbow.” In other words, hypocrisy!
How can you teach your faith with words if you contradict it with your
NO MASS ATTENDANCE. Not only do many fail to get married properly
in the church, but they do not even make any effort to do the minimum and that
is to attend Sunday Mass. True, living in free-union they cannot receive Holy
Communion, but they should at least attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. Finally, with respect to negligence in the
reception of the Sacrament of Baptism, more than ninety percent of those who
baptize delay. The Church wants the
child to be baptized within the first few weeks, before the month has transpired. Priests in Parishes meet parents bringing
their children from three months to five years! Jesus said:
“Let the children come to
me.” Delaying the baptism of the child without
sufficient reason could result in grave sin. Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Unless a man be born of water and the Holy
Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Very serious words of the
Savior! By delaying and denying baptism
of the child all the following graces and blessings are lost: sonship with the
Father, brotherhood with Jesus, friendship with the Holy Spirit, the
elimination of Original Sin, the deprivation of the three theological virtues,
the four moral virtues, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, future actual
graces and inspirations, and even the liberation from the evil spirit! All of these are lost because parents are
flippant, lazy, and nonchalant about baptizing their child in obedience to the teaching
of the Church. Pope Benedict was born
Holy Saturday in Germany 1927 and was baptized the same night at the Easter
vigil Mass—the first to be baptized. Superb example!
THE URGENT CALL FOR ADULT EDUCATION!
Working in a Parish context for more
than a quarter of a century I make these observations. All of these reflect an urgent need for
evangelization, education, and permanent formation, especially on the level of
Children are catechized to make their
first Holy Communion. The teens come to classes for Confirmation, the sick are
anointed, they die and are buried. But what about the huge class of individuals
that we call ADULTS????
Unfortunately, after first Communion
and Confirmation, and these formation classes, almost across the board, no more
doctrinal formation is given on the adult level. This must change and as soon as possible!
PROPOSAL! Adult formation classes for parents who
register their children for first
Communion and Confirmation should be given, but with solid doctrinal,
and moral content. Let us pray that parishes will offer--- better than offer require
--- that parents must attend ongoing formation classes accompanying their
children who prepare to receive their sacraments.
Many parents have never learned or
have forgotten that they are the primary educators of their children. The priests, the nuns, the catechists indeed
can help in the formation of the child or teen, but it is the primary
responsibility of the parents to teach their children about God. Parents must
be the first educators. The primary responsibility
of the parents is to prepare and pave the road to heaven for their children.
So let us beg the Lord mercy for our
negligence, our failures due to sloth or laziness and our sins of omission and
starting right now propose to be a blazing light for our children always pointing
to Jesus who is the Light of the world.