It is scarcely necessary to state that deliberate sin in any shape or form utterly destroys the interior life and even gives a loathing and disgust for its practice. It is not so evident that deliberate imperfections, and for religious repeated violation of rule, have the same result. These are the “little foxes,” attractive and apparently harmless creatures, which must be hunted down and destroyed, says the wise man, if the vineyard is not to perish. A soul given to sin or consciously violating the rules to which it has freely bound itself for life, will sigh in vain for the secret loving embraces of its Beloved.
COMMENT: It is a well accepted principle of Catholic spirituality that we must fight against sin. Naturally we must exert all of our will in the battle against deliberate mortal sin, which utterly destroys the life of grace in our soul and puts our salvation in jeopardy. But we must also exert great efforts in the battle against venial sins and imperfections which weaken our spiritual life and tempt us towards tepidity.
Today is the feast of St Lucy, whose resolve in avoiding sin should give us courage. St Lucy was an early 4th century martyr who dedicated herself to virginity and the service of the Lord. When she refused offers of marriage, she was denounced to the Roman authorities, who decided to force her into prostitution as a punishment for being Christian. When the soldiers came to take her away, they were unable to lift her, so they tied a team of oxen to her to pull her along. These too failed to move her. They then tortured her, pulling out her eyes, which is why she if often depicted carrying her eyes on a plate. An angel subsequently appeared and restored her sight, which is why she is also a patron of those suffering from eye complaints. The soldiers tried to kill her by burning her. However, the wood would not burn, no matter what they tried. They then killed her with a sword.
True story or embellished legend? Ultimately it does not matter, for the story of St Lucy reminds us that we must stand firm and resist sin, and that if we do our part, then the grace of God will not be lacking.