A few days back I memorized the Act of Contrition, a Catholic prayer of confession of sin. It is a beautiful prayer of repentance, intent, and hope that I will repeat daily throughout the remainder of my life. Recently I had the opportunity to look deep into this prayer’s meaning and use by modern man as I drove my car on an errand.
Turning on my radio, I found myself listening to a discussion on EWTN radio regarding the matter of sin in our American society. The protagonist speaker continually referred to those secular or atheist people who viewed sin as if it were a moral strength or virtue. He noted that our media, whether it be television entertainment programming or skewed journalism (I agreed with him that there is no unbiased news reporting anymore), has saturated our society’s essence with acts of sin – adultery for example – portrayed as justifiable behavior for an intelligent, caring human being. I agreed with him. It is the primary reason our family has no television in our household. There simply is no way to exclude such sanctions of illicit behavior when watching and listening to television programing.
As I listened, I knew one thing and then affirmed another. First, that I have heard this discourse many times before. The spiritual prophets are many who see our destruction through the corruption of our media – the great provider of knowledge, freedom, and television based upon some form of reality (supposedly) in people’s lives. That thought, in itself, did not urge me to change the channel, but it did lead me to an affirmation of a belief that I have long acknowledged and wish to discuss here.
This recurring theme, by our well-meaning, Christian prophets, of a call to our secular society to repentance and “to sin no more” – quoting the Act of Contrition – can be an exercise in futility. Not because the goal is unattainable. All men and women are loved by God, no matter what the quality of their nature, and they all have an equal opportunity to seek God, to find His grace and forgiveness, and to become justified through repentance and a sincere desire to lead a life in avoidance of temptation to sin. What makes the prophets’ call to repentance potentially unattainable is that they assume too much of their listening audience. Continue reading On the Pride of Self-Regard