The Four Foundations
of Sanctity: Page 4
by SAINT JOHN EUDES
THE SECOND FOUNDATION OF SANCTITY: HATRED OF SIN
Let this mind be in you . . .
Since you are under obligation to continue on earth the holy and Divine life of Jesus, you must be animated by the sentiments and inclinations of Christ Himself, according to St. Paul the Apostle, who says: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2, 5).
Now Jesus Christ entertained in Himself two widely opposed sentiments:
One of infinite love for His Father and for you, the other of extreme hatred for everything opposed to His Father's glory and your salvation, namely, for sin.
Since He loves His Father and you with an infinite love, He hates sin with an infinite hatred.
He so loved His Father, and so loves you, that He performed great miracles, suffered sorrowful torments, and gave up a precious life for His Father's glory and your love.
On the other hand, He holds sin in so great horror that He came down from Heaven, taking the form of a servant, and for thirty-three years He lived on earth a life of labor, of humiliation and of suffering; He shed His Blood even to the last drop; He died the most shameful and most cruel of all deaths, all for His hatred of sin, because of His intense desire to destroy all sin in you.
Now you must see to it that these same sentiments of Christ with regard to His Father and to sin continue in yourself.
You have to carry on the war He waged against sin while He was on earth.
You are obliged to love God perfectly and with all your might, and you are also bound to hate sin infinitely with all your strength.
You should look at sin as God sees it
In order to dispose yourself to do this, you should henceforth look at sin, not as it is seen by men, with their carnal and blinded vision, but as God sees it, with eyes enlightened by His Divine light; in other words, you should see it with the eyes of faith.
By this light you will see that sin, in so far as it is in a certain sense infinitely contrary and opposed to God, and is a privation of an infinite good, which is God, contains in itself a malice, madness, ugliness and horror that are just as great, in their own way, as God's infinite goodness, wisdom, beauty and holiness (St. Thomas, Summa, 3a, Q. l, a. 2, ad 2um). Therefore sin deserves to be hated and fought to the same degree in which God deserves to be sought and loved.
You will see that sin is so horrible
You will see that sin is so horrible a thing that it can be obliterated only by the blood of a God; so detestable that it can be destroyed only by the death of a God-Man, so abominable that it can be worthily repaired only by the labors, agonies and death, and infinite merits of a God.
You will see that sin is a cruel murder
You will see that sin is a cruel murder, a frightful act of deicide, a ghastly annihilation of all things. It is murder because it is the only cause of death, both of the body and of the soul of man.
It is deicide, because sin and the sinner caused Christ to die on the Cross and the sinner continues this crucifixion of Jesus, day by day, within Himself.
Then it is an annihilation of nature, of grace, of glory and of all things. Since, as far as it can, it destroys their Divine Author, it consequently destroys nature, grace and glory.
God cast into Hell Angels for a sin of one moment
Again you will see that sin is so detestable before God that when the first, most noble and dearest of His creatures, namely, the Angels, fell into one single sin, a sin of thought only, a sin of no more than a moment, He cast them down from the height of Heaven into the depths of Hell, without allowing them even a moment to do penance, since they were unworthy and even incapable of this (St. Thomas, Ibid., Ia, Q. 64, a. 2).
When God finds one mortal sin upon a soul, at the hour of death
When God finds one mortal sin upon a soul, at the hour of death, even though He is all goodness and love for His creature, and has an extreme desire to save all mankind, and even though He has shed His Blood and given His life in order to save humanity, He is nevertheless forced by His justice to pass a sentence of eternal damnation upon that wretched soul.
God delivered His Son
Another thing, even more surprising than this, is that when the Eternal Father saw His Own Son, His only well-beloved Son, most holy and most innocent, laden with the sins of others, He did not spare Him, as St. Paul says, but delivered Him up for us to the Cross and to death (Rom. 8, 32), so abominable and execrable is sin in His sight.
It transforms the servants of God into slaves of the devil
You will also see that sin is so full of malignity that it transforms the servants of God into slaves of the devil, the members of Jesus Christ into the members of Satan, and even changes men who are by grace and participation gods, into devils by likeness and imitation, according to the words of Christ Himself Who, speaking of Judas, called him a devil: Unus ex vobis diabolus est (John 6, 71).
Sin is the evil of evils
And you will finally come to know that sin is the evil of evils, and the greatest of all misfortunes. It is the source of all the evils and all the misfortunes that cover the earth and fill Hell to overflowing. Indeed, this evil is the only one in the world that really deserves to be called an evil. Of all the frightful and appalling things that exist, sin is the most frightful and the most appalling. It is more to be dreaded than death, more fearsome than the devil, and more terrifying than hell, because all that is horrible, appalling and terrifying about death, the devil and Hell proceeds from sin.
O Sin, how detestable thou art!
O Sin, how detestable thou art! Oh, if men only knew thee! Yes, Sin, there is something in thee infinitely more horrible than anything that may be spoken or conceived, since the soul that is befouled with thy rottenness can not be cleaned nor purged except by the blood of God Himself, and thou canst not be destroyed and annihilated save only by the death and annihilation of a God-Man!
O God, no wonder Thou dost hate this hellish monster so much
O God, no wonder Thou dost hate this hellish monster so much, and that Thou dost pursue it with so hard a punishment! Let those be astonished by this who know Thee not, and who know not what an insult is offered to Thee by sin. Indeed, O my God, Thou wouldst not be God, if Thou didst not hate iniquity with an infinite hatred. As it is Thy joy to be bound by necessity to love Thyself infinitely, since Thou art infinite goodness, so also art Thou bound by a holy obligation, to hold in infinite abhorrence that which is, in some sense, infinitely contrary to Thee.
Fear sin and fly from it
O you, Christians who read these words, all of which are based upon the utterance of eternal Truth, if there remain in you some little spark of love and zeal for the God whom you adore, learn to have horror for what He so abhors, and for what is so contrary to Him. Fear sin, and fly from it more than from pestilence, or from death, or from all the other evils that can be imagined.
Keep always alive within you the unshakable resolution to suffer a thousand deaths, together with every kind of torture, rather than ever to become separated from God by a mortal sin.
As long as you do not have the will to die or suffer every kind of disgrace and torture rather than commit any sin, you are not a true Christian
And that God may preserve you from this misfortune, be careful also to avoid venial sin, as far as possible. For you must keep in mind that the shedding of Our Lord's blood and the sacrifice of His life were just as necessary to wipe out venial sin as to deliver you from mortal sin. Remember that anyone who attaches little importance to venial sin will soon fall into mortal sin. If you do not find these resolutions in you own soul, pray to Our Lord to put them there, and do not rest until you possess these dispositions. For you ought to know that as long as you do not have the will to die or suffer every kind of disgrace and torture rather than commit any sin, you are not a true Christian.
But if by some misfortune you should happen to fall into sin, be sure to rise up again at once by means of contrition and Confession, and return to your previous dispositions.