The state of those in Slavery to Sin

January 24, 2022 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 188
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Can there be a more terrible slavery? We call a man a captive who is placed in prison and bound with chains, but his bondage does not equal that of a man whose soul is the slave of an inordinate affection.

Such a man vainly thinks himself free, but no power of his soul enjoys true liberty; his free-will, weakened by sin, is the only possession which remains to him.

It matters little what fetters bind man, if the nobler part of his soul be captive. Nor does the fact that he has voluntarily assumed these chains make his bondage less real or less ignominious. The sweetness of a poison by no means diminishes its fatal effects.

A man who is the slave of a passion is unceasingly tormented by desires which he cannot satisfy and will not curt. So strong is the bondage of the unhappy victim that when he endeavors to regain his liberty he meets with such resistance that frequently he despairs of succeeding and returns to his chains.

If these miserable captives were held by one chain only, there would be more hope of their deliverance. But how numerous are the fetters which bind them!

Man is subject to many necessities, each of which excites some desire; therefore, the greater the number of our inordinate desires the more numerous our chains.

This bondage is stronger in some than in others: there are men of such tenacious disposition that it is only with difficulty they reject what has once taken possession of their imaginations.

Others are of a melancholy temperament and cling with gloomy obstinacy to their desires.

Many are so narrow-minded that the most insignificant object cannot escape their covetousness. This accords with the saying of Seneca that to small souls trifles assume vast proportions.

Others, again, are naturally vehement in all their desires; this is generally the character of women, who, as a philosopher observes, must either love or hate, for it is difficult for them to observe a just medium.

If the misery of serving one arbitrary master be so great, what must be the suffering of the unhappy man who is enslaved by as many masters as there are ungoverned affections in his heart?

If the dignity of man depend upon his reason and free-will, what can there be more fatal to this dignity than passion, which obscures the reason and enslaves the will? Without these powers he descends to the level of the brute.

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