Why Do We Do That? Catholic Traditions Explained

Our prayer group has been reading the lives of some saints and we were struck by how some of them thought they were such sinners. Why would such holy people think they had such serious sin?

Professional athletes practice the fundamentals of their sport over and over again, reaching for better form, consistency, and performance. They focus on the basics, review past performances, and visualize greater success. Practice makes better, if not perfect!

Spiritual masters such as the saints also looked for perfection. They practiced their faith in the search for holiness, grace, and virtue. Through sacraments, prayer, study, good works, and penance, they raised their sensitivity to the presence of God, the demands of the Gospel, and the workings of the Holy Spirit. They examined their consciences daily, reviewing the day for moments of failure and times they could have been more virtuous. Therefore, anything that would interfere with their relationship with God would be like a small black spot on a bright white wall—you can’t miss it! The great saints were aware of sin and the presence of evil because they were so tuned in to the struggle between good and evil fought in their own lives, hearts, and souls. They teach us to guard against becoming desensitized to sin in our lives, unaware of the harm it causes us. A goal of any spiritual practice is to become more aware of our sinfulness so that we seek God’s forgiving and healing love.