In the Gospel we read:
‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son Of Man.’Luke:21:34-36
When we abandon the will of God altogether and walk away from Him we risk getting this hardened heart. The same applies to those of us who don’t abandon him but allow venial sins to encircle us like the hyenas they are. When one sin comes then another and another and before you know it our hearts are hardened and weighed down with sin.
This morning I researched what would happen my car if I filled the engine with too much oil. The pressure would build and it would destroy the engine. It would become overcharged and die a death. The Greek word for “coarsened” here in the scripture is “Baruno” and it means “overcharged”.
What happens when something becomes overcharged or weighed down heavy with something? It stops moving and goes limp as a dead fish. When we overcharge our hearts and weigh it down with sin we separate ourselves from the Lord. By heaping one sin on the other we then stop our spiritual life altogether.
One minute we are doing great in our prayer schedule, but because our sins are becoming many, we soon abandon our daily schedule and do it sparingly or every other day. Then we do it once a week and before you can say Jesus Mary and Joseph, we are back to square one and like a dog that returns to its vomit we are immersed in our worldly ways again.
Like the steward who gets fed up with religion and the Church in general, we take a stick and start beating the others with it. We throw our weight around and completely lose sight of Jesus altogether. It doesn’t happen over night either. All the devil needs is time. . . and that time can be 24 hours to 20 years. Like the terminator in the first movie, he does not sleep, eat or sit down to take a break. He can’t be negotiated with. His whole mind is bent on destroying his target.
The workings of sin in the soul is a slow grind that if we don’t stomp on it at first sight even the most venial of sins, the gates to the barbarians open more and more and the city (soul) is destroyed. It is the end for that citadel and only a miracle can save it now.
When we fall into the dirt we are so quick to get up and brush ourselves off for fear of how we will appear before the general public. If we fall into a pit and are covered from head to toe in mud we rush home to take a shower. Sadly very few of us behave the same way with sin. When well fall into sin, instead of brushing it off with confessions or asking Gods forgiveness, we walk around with it and carry this seemingly invisible load with us.
I say “seemingly” because the weight of our sins manifests itself in the slow demise of our character. Where before we were happy, now, thanks to sin, we are always angry and sad. People can see in us the angry temper and depressed state we’ve become. We may try to disguise the sorrow to others but the Lord sees the heart and He knows how miserable it is.
They don’t know why, but God knows why and it’s because our castle once brilliant has now been reduced to ruin. Why? Because we left a little door open for venial sins and the cares of this life to get in. Our heart became hardened and heavy with the cares of the world. We may look bright and shiny to the world with our big house and two cars in the driveway, and yeah sure, it’s always nice to have a few quid in your back pocket, but you can’t fool the Lord. He sees your emptiness and the absolute desolation that has become of your soul.
This is why we need to “watch” ourselves if we want to be able to “Stand with confidence before The Son of Man.”. Do you feel confident? I don’t either and I don’t think I ever will be. It’s not death I fear, it’s standing before the awesome God that I fear with the weight of all my sins. The only way we can gain confidence is through his Grace and by lots of work in prayer and regular reception of the Holy Gifts.
Maintaining our spiritual life may not be easy at all, but it’s worth the struggle as losing it forever is even easier. Think about the battle for constantinople. It took them centuries to build its impenetrable walls and yet, through one small fault of leaving a secret passage open, a mere few hours to lose it all to the Muslims. It’s the same with us and the demons. All the devil needs is one small hole through which to enter, one little venial sin, and before you know it, through no time at all, he’s got you mastered.
We may not be good watchmen my dear brothers and sisters, but better to be poor watchmen than to abandon the castle altogether.