Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hiding in the Dark

Imagine, if you will, that a life of sin is like sitting in a movie theater. The first time you enter the room, your eyes are unadjusted and nothing can be identified except the glamor of the screen: "He who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes" (John 12:35). As your eyes adjust, objects become recognizable, the room lightens a bit, and soon the surroundings become a comfortable environment. This is like the person who first becomes accustomed to mortal sin. The dark surroundings can become so dangerously comfortable that you will casually relax your standards over time, and eventually come to prefer the ambient light from the inside over the true light from the outside. This is like the person who enjoys habitual mortal sin.

Despite the individuals who remain within the darkness, God in His love does not forget the room. There is a door known as Jesus that serves as the exit, and underneath the door’s base dimly shines a prefigurement of the brightness that exists outside. Some sinners are moved by the grace of this light and decide to crack the door. The hardened sinners perceive the light to be so intensely brilliant as to be dangerous to them and retreat back in weakness:
"For wickedness is a cowardly thing, condemned by its own testimony; distressed by conscience, it has always exaggerated the difficulties. For fear is nothing but surrender of the helps that come from reason; and the inner expectation of help, being weak, prefers ignorance of what causes the torment" (Wisdom 17:11-13).
Then again, others trust the goodness of the light. They enter the light slowly and allow their eyes to readjust; soon the warmth and brightness are fully welcomed. They become the penitent men who rejoice in the mercy and truth of God.

What are you waiting for? The Venerable Louis of Granada wisely notes: “But, even granting that you will live as long as you imagine, will it be easier to begin your conversion now or some years hence?” (The Sinner's Guide § 24).