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C0NCUPISCENCE

Concupiscence. Not exactly an everyday word, but definitely something that affects our everyday life. The Catechism (par. 1264 & 1426) calls concupiscence an inclination to evil and the result of original sin. Although Baptism removes its stain, the effects are still present. Adam and Eve were created without it yet they became the cause of it. How this happened can be better understood by reviewing the nature of temptation.

We experience temptation both from external sources and from within ourselves. Everyone, including Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11), has experienced it from external sources. Temptation from within, however, is the inclination to sin that comes from our fallen nature. Jesus, being God, did not have that inclination, nor did the Blessed Virgin, since by a special intercession of God she was conceived without original sin (the Immaculate Conception).

What Adam and Eve did, however, was to disobey God through the serpent’s deception (Gen. 3:1-6), an external temptation that when yielded to had consequence for all mankind. The darkening of our intellect and weakening of our will, the result of their “original” sin, can result in us being a source of our own sinfulness through what the Church refers to as the seven capital sins: greed, lust, envy, pride, gluttony, sloth, and anger. As Jesus warned in Matt.15:19, it is the evil things originating in the heart and mind that defile a person. Original sin, forgiven through Baptism, still has lasting effects.

Fortunately our weakened will can be strengthened by responding to the graces that God provides. These gifts of sanctification are obtained through proper reception of the sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist, through prayer, and through special charisms of the Holy Spirit (ref par. 1996-2005 of the Catechism). In all this we can rejoice because Jesus our Redeemer has merited the means of our salvation and established the Catholic Church to continue His teaching.

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