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Life in Christ

453

through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

119

Like a physician who probes the

wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts

a living light on sin:

Conversion

requires convincing of sin;

it includes the interior

judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action

of the Spirit of truth in man’s inmost being, becomes at the

same time the start of a new grant of grace and love: “Receive

the Holy Spirit.” Thus in this “convincing concerning sin” we

discover

a double gift:

the gift of the truth of conscience and the

gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the

Consoler.

120

II.

T

he

D

efinition of

S

in

1849

Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right con-

science; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused

by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of

man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as “an

utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.”

121

1850

Sin is an offense against God: “Against you, you alone,

have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight.”

122

Sin sets

itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it.

Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through

the will to become “like gods,”

123

knowing and determining good

and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”

124

In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the

obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.

125

1851

It is precisely in the Passion, when the mercy of Christ is

about to vanquish it, that sin most clearly manifests its violence and

its many forms: unbelief, murderous hatred, shunning and mock­

ery by the leaders and the people, Pilate’s cowardice and the

cruelty of the soldiers, Judas’ betrayal—so bitter to Jesus, Peter’s

denial and the disciples’ flight. However, at the very hour of

darkness, the hour of the prince of this world,

126

the sacrifice of

119

Rom

5:21.

120 John Paul II,

DeV

31 § 2.

121 St. Augustine,

Contra Faustum

22: PL 42, 418; St. Thomas Aquinas,

STh

I-II,

71, 6.

122

Ps

51:4.

123

Gen

3:5.

124 St. Augustine,

De civ. Dei

14, 28: PL 41, 436.

125 Cf.

Phil

2:6-9.

126 Cf.

Jn

14:30.

1433

311

1952

1440

397

615

598

2746, 616