Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula

The Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula

When God directly created the first pair of human beings, he placed their human nature in a state of most marvelous excellence and perfection, possessing a wonderful completeness of form, beauty, health, and vigor of body.  Their bodies were exempt from suffering of any kind; no sickness or other affliction was to torment them, and they were not subject to the dreaded ordeal of death. 

Not content with these perfections, God also raised them to an even higher state with the marvelous gift of sanctifying grace by which they entered into a most intimate union with God as his children.  They were also endowed with a fullness of all the virtues and the fruits and gifts of the Holy Ghost.  God endowed their souls with the faculties of understanding, memory, and will, corresponding to the perfection of their human nature.  Their intellect was free from error, ignorance, and mistaken knowledge.  Their memory was free from the defect of forgetfulness, and their will was made strong by the indwelling of divine grace.

Their perfect state was given to them on the one condition that Adam, as the father and head of the entire human race, would actually merit it for himself and his descendants by an act of obedience.  When he bit the apple he lost that perfect state, and by consequence, so did we.  This is why we suffer from a serious impairment and weakening of our natural endowments.  Our intellect is darkened and liable to error, our will is weakened and unsteady, our passions are turbulent, disorderly, and prone to every kind of forbidden indulgence.

We are all born infected with the poison of this Original Sin, in a state of disinheritance.  Not only that, but we carry through life inherited tendencies toward certain sins, by reason of the vices to which some of our ancestors may have been addicted.  Life for us is a continual struggle with all kinds of evil inclinations and leanings toward the enjoyment of forbidden and sinful pleasures.  Our so-called passions—which are not bad in themselves, being part of our nature—have become rebellious to the law of God and to reason, like runaway horses when the driver has lost hold of the reins.

Fortunately, Divine Goodness has not left us helpless to our fate.  He has made provision for our weakness by the institution of the sacraments and has promised to give us all the aid we need, provided we have the humility to apply to him by means of earnest prayer.  We must keep our unruly passions in due subjection to reason and to the law of God—something that can be done only with the help of God’s grace.