Friday, March 4, 2011

Dead to Sin

            Yesterday in our 4th Day Group, we finished up a section of a new book that we are working with.  The book is quite demanding in that we have to look up Bible verses continuously and we have to look up things in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The book we are using is called Women of Grace: A Bible Study for Married Women.  This study takes me back to my younger years in elementary school.  Mr. Williams taught my Sunday School class one year.  At least I think he was the one.  During the class, we had to look up about 20 verses all over the Bible.  The author of this book reminds me of that time.  In fact, I had to look at the author’s name again just to make sure it wasn’t him.
            Now, I have not worked with the Catechism.  Years ago, my middle child’s godmother reprimanded me for not owning the book.  I still don’t.  I might just need to go down and get a copy.  There are probably a hundred excuses why I haven’t procured a copy, but my biggest reason is the Bible will reaffirm everything I need to know.  “I don’t need to know what a bunch of old men declared thousands of years ago.”  Really this is a stupid attitude when I love to do research and love the writings of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Francis of de Sales.  Well, we read one little section (one of the ladies brought her copy) and it threw me for a loop and I said some stupid stuff.
1694 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, Christians are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" and so participate in the life of the Risen Lord.8 Following Christ and united with him,9 Christians can strive to be "imitators of God as beloved children, and walk in love"10 by conforming their thoughts, words and actions to the "mind . . . which is yours in Christ Jesus,"11 and by following his example.12  Catechism
8 Rom 6:11 and cf. 6:5; cf. Col 2:12.
9 Cf. Jn 15:5.
10 Eph 5:1-2.
11 Phil 2:5.
12 Cf. Jn 13:12-16.
            I believe all of us nervously chuckled at the fact that we are “dead to sin.”  We all agreed we weren’t doing well if we are supposed to be dead to sin.  One of us mentioned that our baptism must not have taken very well.  I have the personality of having to figure out the meaning behind things.  Since I didn’t have the Catechism, I didn’t realize these words were quoted and that there it came from the Bible.  I think my friend looked up the verse that corresponds with the quote and read it.  I was still lost in the words and the Bible reading didn’t register.  Instead of keeping my mouth shut, I started thinking out loud. 
            I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it had something to do with once we are baptized maybe our sins aren’t the big ones anymore.  I mean we don’t murder, have affairs, and look sinful because we are trying to be like Christ.  Wow, if that wasn’t judgmental and egotistical I don’t know the meaning of either word!  How these women put up with me I have no idea.  I am very blessed to have them in my life.  Luckily, one of them lovingly reminded me that as Christians more is expected of us.  We went on to the next question and no more was said on this bit of information.
            Two things have been bothering me.  The first, I am horrible at comparing myself to the rest of the world.  “I don’t do _____(fill in the blank), so I must be doing a good job at being a Christian.”  Why do I do this?  It isn’t because I think other people are horrible.  I know I am one step away from doing ______.  Let’s face it, my harsh judging is not loving and we are called to love one another, so I am obviously not “dead to sin.”  I think the world has beaten me/us down so much I/we have to reaffirm to ourselves that I/we are not all that bad.  Instead of looking at what the world thinks of me, I need to look to Christ.  What does He think?  I shouldn’t compare myself to others.  I should compare myself to the words in the Bible.  What an amazing revelation that most people already probably get but it has taken me forty plus years to come up with.  And really, I am sure I have heard it before I just needed another reminder.  I will probably need another reminder in a year or two.
            Well, I am still bothered by the thought of being “dead to sin.”  I still don’t get it because obviously I am not dead to sin.  I just revealed one way I sin on a daily basis.  So, I went back to the Bible and read Romans 6:1-11.  The eleventh verse brought it home to me.  “Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin….”  In reality, I am not dead to sin, but I must think I am in that I don’t let it run my life.  I have to fight it.  I definitely need to approach this with a humble heart because thinking can get me into trouble as well.  The nice thing is that our baptism did take.  But, I still need to work hard at being “dead to sin.” 
I think I need to go out and buy the Catechism.  I know I have read the book of Romans in my life, but never with this amount of thought have I dived into the verses.  Yes, the Bible does have all I need to know, but those old men have a way of helping me to see it again with clearer eyes.  Okay, maybe not clearer, but different eyes.
Blessings to you all.

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