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Friday, 9 January 2015

The Sin of Cynicism

Matthew 18 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition 

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

One of the most common sins which is not being defined as sin by too many who should know better is the sin of cynicism.

Cynicism is more than just distrust or doubt. It is a firm conviction that most people are evil and that one is doomed to suffering.

Now, some seculars think that this approach is the same as that of a Christian. We think many situations reveal evil and we also see the redemptive aspect of suffering.

But, the Christian knows that suffering has been overcome because of Christ on the Cross.

And, the Christian knows that people choose evil but do not have to do so. No one is "doomed" to evil. All humans have been given sufficient grace for salvation.

We all have free will and we all can choose good.

A cynic lacks a sense of humanity, what humans are called to be naturally and supernaturally.

A cynic may be someone who is disillusioned or jaded. A cynic has lost faith in God to move humans to become human. The cynic only sees the negative and not the entire picture, that men and women are created in God's image and likeness and that we have lost the likeness, which is grace.

Cynics believe that to see men and women as capable of goodness and virtue amounts to naivete. Hope can be natural, but it can also be supernatural, when it is based on the virtue of faith in God and His grace.

The cynic does not believe that we are called to become like little children...that we are called to trust in God.

The cynic does not believe that a person can become a saint, or become perfect.

Perhaps, the cynic does not really believe in Redemption, in Christ's sacrifice to free us from sin and death.

Sadly, the true cynic cannot see God working in the lives of individuals or society. Indeed, this is sad.

Some commentators have sent notes which reveal the sin of cynicism. I do not publish these, as sin has no part in rational discussions and sometimes cynicism reveals an underlying state of depression, which should not be publicized.

I pray that young people do not fall into cynicism. I pray that they see this as a sin against the First Commandment, a serious slight against God and Divine Providence.