Wednesday, November 12, 2014

near occasions of sin

I went to confession the other day. I am trying very hard to make that more of a habit. One step in the right direction has been scheduling "go to confession!" into my work calendar every other Friday, and then just walking out the door and trying not to think about it until I'm there. (I am very blessed to work near a church that has confession hours every day.)

Not that I don't like confession! I really like having confessed, having that squeaky-clean-feeling soul and knowing that I'm as pure as a newly baptized baby. But actually confessing is hard! It's hard to face up to my sins and to say them out loud. Although it has been getting easier with more frequent reception of the Sacrament. (Imagine that :))

Anyway - when I went to confession the other day, I had a thought. You know how in the Act of Contrition you promise "to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin"? Well, I was thinking about how one sin I am really struggling with is the sin of jealousy. (That should come as no surprise!) I think confession has been playing a big part in reducing jealousy's grip on me.

However - how exactly am I to avoid the "near occasion of sin" when it comes to jealousy? Because I am tempted to jealousy:
-- when I wake up in the morning and think about how so-and-so is pregnant and I'm not
-- when I go to mass at work and see the pregnant woman from a different office (who got married less than a year ago, not that I keep tabs on that kind of thing...)
-- when I go to the mall and pass a group of moms
-- when I get another pregnancy announcement from another friend
-- when I spend time with a pregnant friend or mom friend

And so on. The list is veritably endless: anywhere I could possibly encounter a pregnant woman or mom, or anytime I might think of such things, I'm tempted to jealousy. No wonder I felt like I needed confession more often! There is literally no way to avoid all these "occasions of sin" - of course I'm not going to quit my job, stay at home 24/7, cut off all contact with anyone who is a mother or who could become a mother, etc. It's very different than an occasion of sin that you can reasonably avoid, like not going to the bar, not spending time with people who gossip, etc.

Just another example of why infertility can be so very difficult! And so very daily.

However - to end on a positive note - I also think that the daily-ness of infertility, and its attendant temptations, gives me an opportunity every. single. day. (hour?) to take up my cross and follow Jesus. That's how I'm trying to look at it anyway, because that infuses meaning into what otherwise would feel like constant drudgery (honestly, it still feels like that on some days). I am stockpiling treasure in heaven each and every time I'm faced with an opportunity to harbor jealousy and choose instead to pray for the person and move on in hope.

Occasions of sin can become occasions of grace.



  1. The more you give it up the less of a sting it has. It is not an overnight miracle, but a process over time. There are times that the intense sting returns, but it gets easier to deal with because you learn to just offer it up. When I finally handed infertility over the God, if made this process much quicker. I still desire children and have hope that one day it will happen, but it will be in God's time. Even if it isn't God's will I am actively making a decision to trust in his will for my life... As with anything, there's always a process of detachment that we will go through, whether it is infertility or something else...detachment always hurts but less over time.... At least this is my experience

  2. That is a tough one for sure. It's so easy to say that we shouldn't compare ourselves to others, but so hard not to, especially when they are where we would be had our lives gone according to our plan. I think for me, part of being less jealous has involved me letting go of my own plan for my life, and just trying to live what I have. It still really hurts sometimes to see others with what I have always wanted, but it helps, at least for me. I know it's different for everyone!