When I was in Florida, I was told never to
feed alligators because otherwise they will
want more and approach people demanding food.
This reminded me of what happened in 1939
when a coast guard vessel was cruising the
Canadian Arctic. There they spotted a polar
bear stranded on a sheet of floating ice.
Having never seen a polar beer, the sailors
started throwing salami and chocolate bars
to the bear.
Obviously the bear wanted more and soon he
was on board the boat. The seamen were petrified
and they tried desperately to ward him off
shooting water from the fire hoses. He eventually
returned to his ice pad but only after a
Some people make the same mistake. You cannot
feed sin without suffering the consequences.
I heard many 'good' Christians lament that
bad things happen to good people. It may
be true, but many get on the fast track to
bad things happening to them, because they
begin little by little to do those things
they know they should not do! That will surely
speed up the process of bringing those bad
things about in life.
Solomon would say to us today just what he
said so many years ago when his words were
originally written down, "My son, if
sinners entice you, do not consent."
Sin always enters gradually. A slight peek
at an out-of-bounds internet webpage, a drink
at the bar with a workmate of different sex,
a light dipping in the money that is not
yours, a can of beer with friends, a taste
of light drugs… and the battle is practically
lost. We cannot feed sin and expect that
things will remain the same. Sin is like
an animal. Be sure to give it daily attention
and it will grow big and strong!
Around my parish in London Ontario Canada,
there are a number of cattle ranches. Once
in a while, a cow wanders off and gets lost
. . . Speaking with a rancher, he explained
to me what always happens. "Well, you
see, the cow starts nibbling on a tuft of
green grass, and when it finishes, it looks
ahead to the next tuft of green grass and
starts nibbling on that one, and then it
nibbles on a tuft of grass right next to
a hole in the fence. It then sees another
tuft of green grass on the other side of
the fence, so it nibbles on that one and
then goes on to the next tuft. The next thing
you know, the cow has nibbled itself into
The first nibble. The first step. 'It is
just a small thing', we always try to rationalize
ourselves out of the temptation. But it is
the small things that bog us down. One man
managed to walk from New York to San Francisco.
When asked what the biggest hurdle was, he
did not mention the steep slopes of the mountains
or the crossing hot and dry stretches of
desert. Instead, he said, "The thing
that came the closest to defeating me was
the sand in my shoes."
How many times small leads to big! You sow
a thought and you will reap a deed. You sow
a deed and you will reap a habit. You sow
a habit and you will reap a character. You
sow a character and you will reap a destiny!
It goes rapidly from bad to worse.
So what can I do? Just follow the sequence
of this message. Day 1: I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall
in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my
fault. It takes forever to find my way out.
Day 2: I walk down the street. There is a
deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't
see it. I fall in. I can't believe I am in
the same place, but it wasn't my fault. It
still takes me a long time to get out.
Day 3: I walk down the street. There is a
deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there.
I still fall in. It's a habit. My eyes are
open. I know where I am. It is my fault.
I get out immediately. Day 4: I walk down
the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it. Day 5: I walk down a different
It makes sense, no?
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
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