Sometimes we don't understand the weight of our sins until we see their spiritual effects.
When we sin against God or our neighbor, we typically don’t feel the effects. Sometimes we may realize the wrong we did, but often we persist in our sin and don’t think anything of it.
One story from St. Alphonsus Liguori helps illustrate what truly happens when we sin, though we may not see it.
In the Annual Letters of the Society of Jesus it is related that in India a young man was leaving his room with the intention of committing a sin when he heard a voice saying: “Stop! Where are you going?” He turned around and saw an image in relief representing Our Lady of Sorrows, who drawing out the sword which was in her breast said, “Take this dagger and pierce my heart rather than wound my Son by committing such a sin.” On hearing these words the youth prostrated himself on the ground and bursting into tears with deep sorrow, asked and obtained pardon from God and our Blessed Lady.
This is a powerful image, one that can be used in our daily life.
There is often a sin of ours that could be called our “pet sin.” We know it is wrong, but it’s difficult to give up. It may be helpful for us to stop ourselves the next time we are on the verge of sinning and picture before us the Blessed Mother, handing us a sword and telling us to pierce her heart with it.
This spiritual exercise can help us feel the spiritual effects of our sin, even though we can not see it. Hopefully we will see the pain it inflicts on ourselves and others and begin the path toward renewal.
God wants to set us free from the slavery of sin and holds out his hand to us, waiting for us to take it and be welcomed back home into his loving arms.