Slavery to Sin
January 19, 2022 • 3 min
From The Sinner’s Guide, page 181
By Venerable Louis of Granada
Now, the sinner is in bondage under sin, the most cruel of tyrants. The torments of hell are but the effects of sin; consider, then, how horrible sin itself must be. It is to this cruel tyrant that the wicked are enslaved, for our Saviour tells us: “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” [St. John viii. 34.]
Nor is the sinner a slave to sin only, but to all that incites him to sin—that is, to the world, the devil, and the flesh with all its disorderly appetites. These three powers are the sources of all sin, and, therefore, are called the three enemies of the soul, because they imprison her and surrender her to a most pitiless master.
The first two powers make use of the flesh, as Satan made use of Eve, to tempt and incite us to every kind of iniquity. Therefore, the Apostle calls flesh
sin, giving the name of the effect to the cause, for there is no evil to which man is not incited by the flesh. [Rom. vii.]
For this reason theologians term it fomes peccati—that is, the germ and fuel of sin; for, like wool and oil, it serves to feed the fire of sin. It is more commonly called sensuality, or concupiscence, which, to speak more plainly, is our sensual appetite.
Hence, St. Basil tells us that our desires are the principal arms with which the devil makes war upon us; for, carried away by the immoderate desires of the flesh, we seek to gratify them by any means in our power, regardless of God’s law. From this disorder all sin arises.
This appetite of the flesh is one of the greatest tyrants to whom, in the language of the Apostle, the sinner has made himself a slave. By this we do not mean that the sinner loses his free-will, for free-will is never lost, however great the multitude of his crimes. But sin so weakens the will, and so strengthens the appetites of the flesh, that the stronger naturally prevails over the weaker.
What is there more painful than the consequences of such a victory? Man possesses a soul made to the image of God, a mind capable of rising above creatures to the contemplation of God; yet he despises all these privileges and places himself in subjection to the base appetites of a flesh corrupted by sin and incited and directed by the devil. What can man expect from such a guidance, or rather from such a bondage, but innumerable falls and incomparable misfortunes?
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