One of the most powerful statements for any person to thoughtfully reflect upon is the following: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. We find these words in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2339. They are deeply insightful about our human nature and plainly reveal one of the most fundamental choices that every person must make: Will I allow my urges, desires, and feelings to control me and dictate how I live? Will I let these dominate and enslave me? If so, know that there is a painful cost for doing so.
Evidence of this is in a few news headlines from this past week. You are probably aware of the first: “Ohio priest convicted of five sex trafficking charges, including of a minor.” The priest is Fr. Michael Zacharias, who is a priest of our diocese and was at St. Peter Parish for a few years. The second news headline is equally shocking: “Former Superintendent of the Year arrested for human trafficking.” Ten arrests were made in connection to a human sex trafficking sting in northeast Ohio, including a middle school teacher and a non-profit executive. Sadly, the former school superintendent was the Superintendent of the Year for the whole State of Ohio in 2013.
These individuals, like so many others, thought they could walk with evil and be in control. However, the exact opposite was the case. They might find it difficult to admit to the truth – evil was controlling them. They were doing the work of Satan. Jesus said of Judas at the Last Supper, when Judas made his final and definitive decision to betray Jesus for money – “Satan entered into him”. These individuals had their moments of spiritual weakness and blindness, but there were moments of clarity and strength when they could have fought with everything in them to overcome his sin. They needed to fight sin like they were fighting for their life, because in actuality they were.
Another important statement to reflect upon is the following: The road to hell is paved with rationalization! Satan doesn’t show us where our sinful actions are taking us. He wants us to be isolated from the truth, because as Jesus says, the truth is what will set us free. The person gives into his/her urges, desires, and feelings, thinking they are in control, but in reality, loses more and more control. They rationalize from one sin to another, not seeing the cumulative effect is taking them far from God.
God spoke to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima just over one hundred years ago. It’s important to remember that the greatest publicly witnessed miracle since the time of Jesus occurred at Fatima. There God reminded the world that “more souls go to Hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” Again, the Catechism states: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.
God’s teachings and commandments are the pathway from slavery to freedom. The commandments that you need the most are the ones you are struggling with or ignoring!