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75. The Cause of Sin

1. The direct cause of sin is the will inasmuch as itculpably lacks the direction of right reason (the trulyenlightening and counseling intellect) and God's law, and isintent upon some creatural good.

2. Thus the interior and proximate cause of sinis found in the will.We usually say that this interior andproximate cause of sin is in the reason, meaning by the word reasonthe whole intellective element or part of man, that is, hisintellect and will together. The remote, as contrastedwith the proximate, interior cause of sin is the influence of thesentient appetites and the imagination. This remote interior causeof sin is never the complete cause; it must be admitted into theintellective part of man by free will before it can becomethoroughly effective.

3. Exterior things can be, in some sense, thecause of sin, but only partially and incompletely in so far asexternal objects can stir the senses and, through the senses,exercise an influence on reason. Thus a precious gem may stir aperson to desire it, to dwell imaginatively upon the joy ofpossessing it, and so lead him to steal it. But, in the lastanalysis, the theft is not truly caused by the gem itself; thetheft is caused by the thief's will, acting without the rightordering of reason.

4. One sin may be said to cause another, since a human actmay dispose a person to perform its like. One breakthrough of therestraints that keep a person from sin may invite, so to speak,other sins to follow in the wake of the first. But, in each case,the complete cause of the sin is the will, the reason, of thesinner.

"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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