The foolishness of waiting until old age to quit sin

December 6, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 245

Let me call your attention to the foolish choice you make in selecting old age as a time for repentance, and permitting your youth to go fruitlessly by.

What would you think of a man who, having several beasts of burden, put all the weight upon the weakest, letting the others go unloaded? Greater is the folly of those Christians who assign all the burden of penance to old age, which can hardly support itself, and who spend in idleness the vigorous years of youth.

Seneca has admirably said that he who waits until old age to practise virtue clearly shows that he desires to give to virtue only the time of which he can make no other use.

And do not lose sight of the satisfaction God requires for sin, which is so great that, in the opinion of St. John Climachus, man can with difficulty satisfy each day for the faults he commits each day. Why, then, will you continue to accumulate the debt of sin and defer its payment to old age, which can so poorly satisfy for its own transgressions?

St. Gregory considers this the basest treason, and says that he who defers the duty of penance to old age falls far short of the allegiance he owes to God, and has much reason to fear that he will be a victim of God’s justice rather than the object of that mercy upon which he has so rashly presumed.

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