I am dead.
Don't be so shocked at that. It's really the default position. Most things are dead.
So when I woke up one day and found myself no longer alive (it had come as a thief in the night), I learned a few things - for much was illumined - lit up - in that awful day, as if by fire.
When I first became sick, it seemed like such an injustice. You never appreciate health until you don't have it - just like money, just like love. But the closer I came to the end, the more I realized how marvelous the whole thing is, the whole is is.
Did I thank God for it? Well, after a fashion. I was certainly grateful when things went my way - which, unfortunately, was often.
You see, I made a really great case for Following Your Bliss - which for me meant doing exactly and only what I wanted to do ... to whomever I wanted to do it to.
Speaking of which, let's be frank. Only a dead man can say this. Sex is not about sex. It's about power. And I loved me some power, and so I had me some sex. And the girls enjoyed it because while I was using them, they were using me - and they found it thrilling that my wife never knew. It gave them a greater sense of control. At any rate, it was easy to rationalize. I never ever ever ever heard a homily about adultery, and I went to Mass every Sunday and took communion - religiously. Once a year we'd hear about abortion, and twice in my life I heard in a homily the word "contraception", but never once did I hear a homily on the evils of adultery.
Because, you know, I was fulfilling my destiny. I was following my bliss - my blasted bliss.
But anyway, my point is - and again, only the dead can say this (or maybe only the most alive) - my point is you can't just say, "I reject sin."
I tried that a few times, when the guilt got to me, when it hit me with a ton of bricks. But I'd do it again. And again. I always failed when I tried not to sin. Perhaps you and I have that in common, Sinner.
Let me explain.
You see, it's not about not sinning. You can't get a positive with a double negative, at least not in the equations of the Spirit. In truth, sinning is a negative. Sinning means not being holy. You can't "not sin", for that's simply not not being holy. You have to be holy. That's the only way of avoiding sin, and that comes only by the grace of God - God's presence in you. Literally. It would be like me saying, I want not to be dead. Well, great, Sinner, but to do that you have to be alive, and that only comes from God and that means holiness - His holiness. It means love. It means losing your life to save it, not-having-your-way in order to get it.
So it burns.
I sweat and suffer and it burns away and my heart slowly thaws, and I see Him more and more clearly - or perhaps it is His shadow. Someday maybe face to face. Now that I am here, I know Him just a bit. Then, I will know Him as He has always known me - but for now there is no now or no here, just pain, a pain I brought on myself. But I see His form, and that means hope.
Will you join me here, Sinner? Join me in death? Or will you live and be free?