February 15: Happy Sin!

by Liz Hill

“Sin.” A tough word. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves.” What is sin? The Oxford English Dictionary, calling it “a transgression of the divine law and an offense against God,” does not help much. When someone said to me, “I don’t sin,” I wondered what she meant. Offenses that are on the law books? Some form of moral turpitude?

Sin is also defined as “separation from God.” Then is it just feeling lost and alone? Or is there something more behind it? Something distressing that’s hard to pinpoint? More than feeling, sin is present, deeper than the law books or the opinions of others. It is a part of the human condition.

But we are forgiven. Were it not so, life would be intolerable. Yet we must acknowledge our sin in order to accept forgiveness. That’s the hard part. Both, recognizing our sins and accepting God’s forgiveness. A deep and intense journey.

Here we are in Lent. That’s what we do, the journey. As an ancient liturgy puts it,
“O felix culpa, quia talem ac tantum meruit habere redemptorem.”

“O happy sin, because it was worthy of such a
Great Redeemer!”