Sep 9, 2014 1:49 AM
Yes Holy Father, Jesus walks with sinners but He asks us to sin no more...
Pope Francis has just reminded us that, "God 'walks with the righteous and the sinners.' He walks 'with everyone, to arrive at that encounter, the final encounter of man with Him.'" (See here).
Once again, it is what Pope Francis does not say that is troubling. Yes the weeds continue to grow among the wheat until Jesus returns. Yes, we are all sinners. But the notion that I can live as I wish, committing one sin after another, and that this is somehow "okay" because Jesus "walks with me" is erroneous. It is presumption. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that: "There are two kinds of presumption. Either man presumes upon his own capacities, (hoping to be able to save himself without help from on high), or he presumes upon God's almighty power or his mercy (hoping to obtain his forgiveness without conversion and glory without merit)." (CCC, 2092).
Dr. Grisez explains that, "Remaining interested in God's promises and counting on him to keep them, those who sin by presumption continue to hope and even, to some extent, to shape their lives by hope. But, not consistently putting hope into practice, they abuse it, expecting pardon without repentance and the reward for following Jesus without the cost of discipleship. This unrealistic expectation is the essence of presumption. An element of pride underlies this sin. Rejecting God's terms for obtaining what he promises, the presumptuous expect to obtain it on their own. They suppose that God, like a blustery parent, threatens punishments which he will be too softhearted to carry out, and, like a permissive parent, accompanies his gift of freedom with a virtual guarantee to fend off the consequences of its irresponsible use. Such suppositions are inconsistent with faith, which not only depends on God's absolute truthfulness but also, assuring believers that God will do his part, calls them to do theirs, as grace empowers them to do.
However, the sin of presumption can be committed without denying any truth of faith. People determined not to fulfill the responsibilities of Christian life in some essential respect, yet, unwilling to face the prospective consequences, can resolve the tension by persuading themselves that somehow God will manage to save them despite themselves. This self-deception need not be logical enough to withstand critical reflection, since that is something the presumptuous manage to avoid...It also weakens hope. Rather than serving as the intention of all the choices which should make up Christian life, presumptuous hope renders many of them unnecessary and clears the way for a life-style apart from, and even sinfully at odds with, hope for the kingdom. Not being exercised, hope weakens as other interests grow strong. Eventually heaven, now taken for granted and regarded as irrelevant to present concerns, becomes a dim prospect, a mere fairyland which one used to yearn for but no longer finds exciting."