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Father Angelo,

Can atheism, in the long term, cause a terrible feeling of lack of substance concerning creatures and the Creation?  As if you could see nothing good in anything and in anybod, as if everything, including ourselves,  was about to disappear from one moment to the next? A feeling that prompts one to see man as a being at the mercy of his own instincts (pitiless and malign inwardness) and of an uncaring and fickle nature that alternates natural disasters and weather adversities (external world). Could some of these feelings be influenced by the Devil’s instigation, given that they look like the prelude of hell. Yet creatures and the Creation have the divine imprint, therefore they must have kept something good in spite of the impairment provoked by man’s sin. Still, it is very laborious to perceive that everything talks about God. 

Do man’s sins only cloud the conscience or can they even damage the psyche?

Kind regards

The priest’s answer


  1. It is manifest that some sins have an impact on psychic life. Think, for instance, of drug or alcohol addicts, even though such deviances often have, in turn, causes of psychic origin. Sometimes a kind of vicious circle occurs and, from a human standpoint, it is not easy to get out of it. Fortunately, there are the resources of grace. 
  1. Likewise, it is clear that sins hurt those who commit them. John Paul II in Reconciliatio et Paenitentia reminded that the first and most important consequences of sin fall on the sinner himself with “a dark and powerful force of destruction” (RP 17).

Obviously, the Pope is referring to mortal sin, because this causes the loss of the personal presence of God through grace. 

Whoever lives in a situation of mortal sin perceives an inner void which ordinarily can be filled only by the sacrament of penance. 

Whereas in every respect there is nothing quite as beneficial as the presence of the Bridegroom, of Jesus Christ, in one’s soul.

About this presence the Sacred Scripture says that “association with her involves no bitterness and living with her no grief, but rather joy and gladness” (Wis 8:16).

  1. If these are the benefits of living in grace, one can easily infer how sin can have indirect implications on the psychic life of a person who is deprived of these treasures. As a matter of fact, nothing can substitute the presence of the Bridegroom in the soul because entering it personally is His exclusive prerogative. All the others, though beloved, can dwell in the heart and in the mind through affection, but they cannot inhabit the soul personally.  
  1. Saint Thomas points out that there is still another way sin can affect a person’s psychic life. As a matter of fact, he says that “it is also the nature of love that it transforms the lover into what is loved: They became abhorrent, just like the things they loved (Hos 9:10). But if we love God, we become divine, because he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit (1 Cor 6:17)”. (Saint Thomas Aquinas, In duo praecepta caritatis et in decem legis praecepta expositio). 
  1. This reflection of Saint Thomas’s is very precious. It reminds us that everyone becomes what he loves. If one loves empty things, he will become empty.

If one loves God, he will become innerly rich because he will become one thing with Him. 

Thank you again for prompting me to underline these aspects of Christian life that get us to love it ever more. 

I remember you to the Lord in prayer and I bless you

Father Angelo