The Fourth Effect of Venial Sin

Cardinal Manning says that the fourth effect of venial sins is that they displease God. He adds, “Can any sin be small which displeases God? When we walk about at noonday, we walk about in the full splendour of the noonday light—we are bathed in it, encompassed by it—we cannot escape from it, go where we may—if we go on the north side of a wall the light is still there. So it is with the presence of God. All our deeds, words, and thoughts are in the presence of God.”

“We knowingly displease [God our Father] by ungrateful and unfilial disobedience. It is as if the Prodigal after his return home, and after being reinvested with the ‘first robe, and the ring on his hand, shoes on his feet,’ and after receiving the ‘kiss of peace,’ had again begun, and with his eyes open, to murmur and complain at his father’s will.”

“We displease also our Divine Redeemer who died for us, our Divine Friend, and we displease Him by mean, treacherous, tricky, and hateful violations of the duties of friendship.”

“We displease and grieve the Holy Ghost,” for example, by listening to detraction and encouraging it by curiosity and laughter. “In society, a man is thought dull and stupid who cannot talk about his neighbour, and satirically describe, and make others laugh at his humorous descriptions of the failings and faults, and sometimes of the sins, of those that are known to him. A man that is simple in his conversation and bridles his tongue is a dull companion. He chills society. They are the most popular in society who have no bridle in their mouth, who will say anything, criticise anybody, ridicule all things, dress up and satirise every person, every event, and every scandal of the day.”

Another way in which we displease and grieve the Holy Ghost is by succumbing to vanity, folly, and ostentation for the sake of fashion. “I wonder by what name it will be known in the Last Judgment?” asks Cardinal Manning. Perhaps “vanity, wilful tempting of others, vainglory, luxury, self-exhibition, ay, and that often to the peril and danger of those who look on.”

Quotations from Henry Edward Manning, Sin and Its Consequences, 2d ed. (London: Burns and Oates, 1874).

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