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Our habitual voluntary sins


We shall reflect on our habitual voluntary sins.


These can be classified under the various forms of egoism;  proud, arrogant, self-sufficient, vain egoism;  and sensual, overly sensitive, lazy, indolent egoism.

To sins of pride belong all our desires to try to cut a figure, our strategies to push ourselves forward:  ostentation, lying, trifling excuses, exaggerations, indiscretions intended to show that we know more than we are telling;  refusals to admit our faults, stubbornness, obstinacy, impatience, ruffled self-love, voluntary anxiety;  harshness in words, in judgments, lack of charity either through frivolity or through a sentiment of partiality.

Sins of sensuality include all that is related to sloth, negligence, gluttony, excessive affection, uncontrolled imagination, random reading, daydreams, weakness of will, discouragement, jealousy and envy, the omission of the good we should do, resistance to grace, fear of goodness.

Let us now consider our faults, our predispositions to evil.  What a sad sight!  It is like a country ravaged by enemy troops.  Almost all of our faculties are darkened, damaged.

Our intellect is frivolous, incapable of prolonged attention.  It judges too quickly, too severely;  it is superficial, narrow.  "No one has any sense except us and our friends."

Our will is feeble, acting by fits and starts.  Now it is weak, yielding to evil influences, to vain, stubborn dissipation.  Again it is obstinate and hard, closed to all goodness;  or intemperate, capricious.

Our imagination reviews again all that arouses our anger, indignation, discouragement, sadness, melancholy.  It exaggerates everything, making us live in a fanciful and unreal world.

Our sensibilities are obtuse and cold, incapable of generous self-giving;  or else they are all aquiver and overly passionate.  We tend to make a tragedy out of everything that happens to us.  We allow our emotions to be extreme in their manifestations, indiscreet in their demands, badly controlled or uncontrolled.  We act like spoiled children.

Such is the sad spectacle of the self without God, of the self that has not risen again or been refashioned in the image of Christ, transformed by his grace, configured to the Lord Jesus.



Father Léonce de Grandmaison, S.J. "Our habitual voluntary sins." excerpt from Tongues of Fire (Notre Dame, IN: Fides Publishers, 1961).

Tongues of Fire is out of print and in the public domain.

This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in March 2013.

The Author

Father Léonce de Grandmaison, S.J. (1868-1927) was ordained a priest in Jersey (in the Channel Islands) on August 24, 1898. Father Leon was a French exile at the time. As a priest he was assigned to teach theology to his colleagues even though he was the youngest among them. A careful apologist he strove against the modernist heresy keeping at all times a moderate attitude which earned him attacks from fundamentalists of the time. His most influential book was Jesus Christ, His Person, His Message, His Signs. His books are all out of print at this time.

Copyright © Father Leonce de Grandmaison, S.J.
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