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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Near Occasion of Fudge

This is the hardest part of the year. Not just because the Chicago Bears lost the Superbowl. (Not that I care so much, I'm a basketball fan, but I used to live in Chicago and now everyone there got drunk for nothing. Sad.)

It's February. Aside from Black History month and St. Valentine's Day (can we please call it by it's proper name SAINT Valentine's Day) we just slog along with no real holidays, no joyous celebrations (unless you live in Indiana) no deep examination like during Lent. Between now and Easter it's all down hill with just a "too much candy day" and a "too much booze" day in March.

The priest and the Infant of Prague are in their everyday green.

So let's talk about near occasions of sin. That'll be fun! And Lent is just around the corner!

The term is self explanatory. A near occasion of sin is anything that might lead you to sin. If you can't keep your fingers out of the cookie jar, don't take it down off the refrigerator in the first place. Avoid the kitchen. Don't bring change for the snack machine at work.

It's not a sin to eat cookies, by the way. That was a metaphor. It has been my experience here that people have a little trouble with metaphors and .............sarcasm. Perhaps if they could hear my flat tone, they would recognize the sarcasm when I am employing it.

There are four types of near occasions of sin: proximate, remote, necessary and voluntary.

This is where things can get a little confusing. So let's try to use an example. Let's say you are allergic to fudge. The doctor has told you that if you eat fudge, your head will swell up and you'll die. Every Tuesday, little Suzie next door makes fudge. Can you go over to Suzie's house on Tuesday?

Maybe. How much will power do you have?

Can you sit there while Suzie makes the fudge, stirs it, asks if you want to taste the spoon? Can you relax while the fudge cooks, while she slices it into bite size pieces and sprinkles it with walnuts and powdered sugar?

If the "fudge" is sin, then when you visit Suzie on Tuesday that is a proximate, voluntary near occasion of sin. You went right over there on purpose, knowing full well there would be fudge abounding. You could visit Suzie on five other days (not Sunday...you need to be at Mass), but no, you steamed right in there on fudge day. You knew.

If it's your job to clean Suzie's house every Tuesday, that would be a necessary occasion of sin.

I guess if you just sit out on the porch or drive back and forth on your bike outside that would be a remote occasion of sin. I guess.

The big question is: Is a proximate voluntary occasion of sin a sin in itself?

Obviously, yes. You went over to Suzie's knowing there would be fudge the whole time you were there and you still went so you could be as close to the fudge as you could, soaking up all the fudgeness. Certainly it will just be a matter of time before you just have to try one little taste and your head swells up and you die.

Straight to hell. For a bite of fudge. Are you proud of yourself now?

There. Now we've covered that concept. What else needs clearing up?


Michelle said...

I think there should be a special font or emoticon for sarcasm. I find myself having to explain that I'm being sarcastic. The "punch" is a bit less dramatic if you have to verbally jab someone in the ribs and say, "That's sarcasm...get it?"

And it's really good that I'm not allergic to fudge.

Monica said...

So tell me, where does Susie live?

Ray Ward said...

Actually there is a joyous celebration in February, if you live in New Orleans or Mobile — Mardi Gras, which usually falls in February. Which I suppose also doubles for some as some sort of occasion of sin.

Milehimama said...

Ahh.. sarcasm. That's where the strikeout feature really comes in handy.
You forgot Lincoln's Birthday. If there ever was an occasion to party, it'd be for the tall guy with a cool hat, no?
I think you left out another sin - you go to Susie's house so you can resist the fudge, and then congratulate yourself for it. Which would be a deadly sin - pride.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Ah, Lincoln. Didn't they just lump his day in with Washington and call it "Presidents's Day"?

We always used to have cherry pie on Washington's Birthday. Now we have to have cherry pie with Laudanum in it.

Mr. Ward,

Mardei Gras is not only a near occasion of sin, even if you keep your eyes closed, it's the home of "girls gone wild". Just bringing that is a sin.

Eat, Drink and be like Mary said...

I think you need to focus on the forgivness of sin rather than how close did I get. I for one find it impossible to avoid fudge no matter how hard I try

Kasia said...

But the thing is, focusing on the forgiveness without talking about the sin itself is like talking about the Resurrection and pretending the Passion and the Crucifixion didn't happen. Both are important, but the Crucifixion was necessary to the Resurrection. I mean, Jesus had to die before He could conquer death, right?

(Please note that I'm not suggesting that sin is good because it gives us something to be forgiven for. I'm simply pointing out that ignoring the unpleasant parts of the Redemption doesn't work.)

Sister Mary Martha said...

It must be tiresome to Jesus to keep forgiving all that fudging over and over. The least you can do is avoid Suzie's house.

Anne said...

I just read this to my children as they cleaned the kitchen. They enjoyed it greatly but my 9 yr old instantly proclaimed "I need to go to Suzie's house!" At which point the other children began chastising her, only to have her reply "I'm not ALLERGIC to FUDGE... just FAVA BEANS AND SULFA DRUGS!" **sigh**

Thank goodness this is the child who loves to go pray the rosary at Church on Wednesdays... so hope remains...