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?