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86. The Stain of Sin

1. Sin is called, by metaphor, "a stain on thesoul." A stain is a blot or ugly mark which destroys what isbright and comely. A stain is caused by contact with soiling andunsuitable things. Sin dims or blots out the brightness ofperfected human nature; it blots out the wisdom and grace of God inthe soul. It is therefore a stain upon the soul. We speak here ofgrave sin, not of the actual sin which is called venial.

2. A stain remains after the contact that caused it hasceased. So also the stain of serious sin remains in the soul afterthe act of sin has been completed. This stain is not removed exceptby a new act of returning by recovered grace to the unsmirchedbeauty of the soul.

"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"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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