GOD'S WILL versus MY WILL
When Catholics think of
sin, the first thing that comes to mind is adultery, murder, drunkenness,
stealing, lying, etc. Actually these are mere symptoms of a sinful state as
fever is a symptom of a malfunctioning organ. When the angels sinned, it was
none of the above. And neither was Adam and Eve guilty of adultery or
The sin is in doing one's will.
. .which comes from pride. When we know God's will and still insist on our
own will, that is pride. . . and that is sin. This was the sin of the
Adam and Eve ate of the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil. From its very name, the tree was indeed
something good. . .the knowledge of good and evil. Moral theology studied by
every seminarian and ethics are subjects that bestow a knowledge of good and
Now, why would knowing good from
evil be punishable in the case of Adam and Eve and not punishable in our
case? Because, in the case of Adam and Eve, God had expressed His will . . .
'not to eat of the tree'. . . at least not for now. And Adam and Eve followed
will though they knew God's will. So, though they really chose what is good,
the knowledge of good and evil, they sinned in having chosen their will
rather than God's will.
Then there is the example of
Moses. The Israelites were thirsty in the desert and God commanded Moses to
strike the rock ONCE. Moses struck the rock TWICE. Moses had a good
intention; he wanted to give drink to the thirsty Israelites just as God's
will was to give drink, too. The first strike was God's will; the second was
Moses' will. And God punished Moses for doing his will by denying him
entrance to the promised land.
Moses had whole tribes
slaughtered yet it was not attributed to him as sin; here Moses struck the
rock a second time to give drink to the Israelites but it was considered sin
in the eyes of God. How is this? Because the first strike was God's will;
the second strike was Moses' will.
Clearly the universal and
fundamental spiritual battle is between doing God's will and doing our own
In the angel's case, it was
called pride. Obviously he who chooses his own will rather than God's will
is working on the assumption that his will is superior to God's will. And
nothing could be more ridiculous.
On the other hand, nothing could
be wiser than to choose God's will over our own will. . . for the simple
reason that God knows better than any of us.
So, when Christ came to earth to
teach us the way of salvation, His first command was 'to deny oneself',
not to choose one's own will. If you don't deny yourself, you will never
know God's will. And it is when you continually choose your own will that
in no time you begin to commit fornication, adultery, lie, get angry,
murder, etc. . .
In Catholic spirituality,
therefore, the way to avoid all sins is to, always, prefer God's will over
one's own will. And our preference for God's will is shown by our great
desire to know, to meditate and obey Christ's commands.