Homily: Self Improvement and Sin
I want to talk to everyone today about Self Improvement.
From the Testimonium:
“the world that we occupy is a vessel in which, when God be poured, forms Humanity” -Covenants
“Within the Word there was Meaning, and God became that Meaning.
God sought to expand the Meaning of the Word” – Rebelleonem
The world was made for God to grow, and when he put himself into it, he became Mankind- millions of us all at once.
Each of us experiences different challenges and sometimes are challenged by each other. Surviving the winter. Surviving the streets. The dangers of travel. Political disputes. Scarcity. All of these things are physical challenges that are intended to grow our spirits- to grow God’s spirit. In a perfect world, we would debate and make peace to solve our disagreements. Those with much would share freely with those who lack. There would be no temptation to be wicked. Indeed, the testimonium tells us:
“If the world were whole, wickedness would be impossible.” -Covenants
But the world was damaged. The Triumvirate rebelled.
Sin is that damage, and it is the cause of all of the monsters and curses we are plagued with, as well.
“The wound which the world suffered at the hands of the Triumvirate robbed it of some unknowable essential aspect which allows wickedness to be” -Covenants
Instead of debate and compromise, we are tempted to simply solve our problems with force and murder- but this doesn’t resolve our disputes; it just makes more. When we lack, we are tempted to steal rather than humble ourselves by asking for help- but this doesn’t eliminate scarcity; it just hurts someone else. We seek brief carnal pleasure because we crave love and intimacy- but we are hurting our chance for true intimacy when we do that. We seek the solace of alcohol to distract us from our woes- but our woes grow while we drown ourselves, and sometimes we create even more of them in our stupor.
Sin does not make us grow. It makes us less. It diminishes us and makes us weak and wounded in spirit, and that is what the demons wanted when they damaged the world.
But we can grow despite them. We can heal the damage they cause. We can defy those demons and be free of the shackles of sin. We just have to be cautious of our path. We have to work at it more to improve ourselves. We have to understand sin so we can identify and avoid it.
Covenants tells us: “It is mankind’s duty to make the world whole and replace that which was taken.”
It is our duty to grow and make the world a better place.
I’m going to go over a couple of those sins that seem commonly misunderstood.
First is Greed. Greed is the sin of lack. Of scarcity. We fear starving. We fear loss of our shelter, of our success, of our possessions. But when you take something that isn’t yours, you are taking from yourself. You are that other person. We are all God.
But we all know that theft is wrong. There is more to greed. Greed is also not giving to others when you can. It’s keeping those few silver in your pockets that could be helping the people around you.
“What if you need it later?” ask the demons. “Didn’t you earn it? Why can’t they get their own? Couldn’t you wait for someone else to help them? Couldn’t you do this more efficiently later and keep more to yourself?” The demons clutch your pouches of silver and gold with your own hands. “There isn’t enough for everyone,” is the lie they tell you, playing upon your fear.
There is enough. Each of us work in our own ways. Each of us works together to make more when there isn’t enough. We build and we invent and we ask each other for help. That is how we grow. There will always be enough because together we can overcome *anything*.
Do not harm yourself by not giving. The one you are denying is you. The hoard you are keeping is poison to your soul.
The other sin I’ve been asked to speak on, with the blessing of Prosecutor Markus, is Heresy.
Heretics come to us and they tell us they know the secrets of the universe. The Rime Clans and the cowardly northerners who follow their myths tell us that we must be slaves to their demons and harm ourselves and make ourselves small so the demons don’t see us. The Vecatrans put nature above themselves and callm down curses upon humanity. The Triumvirate tell us that debasement itself is virtue.
All have one thing in common- they want you to tear down humanity and yourself. They want you to be less. *That* is the essence of heresy. They lie to you. They want to trick you. They offer easy answers because they want to tempt you away from the hard ones- that humanity is meant to improve itself, and it can do that only by avoiding the pitfalls of sin.
That’s the *only way* you can become a better person
Easy answers are tempting. Secrets that seem to say that all of the toil everyone else is doing is unnecessary and that you are being privileged with a “true path” that skips you ahead of everyone else. The truth is that self improvement is hard, but it’s also the only *real* reward. In the end, there are no happy heretics. Even if they never die, they are consumed by a spiral of misery and spite and false promises. They draw on demonic power to prove themselves, but if you really look at them- you can see they are unhappy, broken things. And the only way to save a heretic is cleansing fire to save their soul and return them to God.
None of you are ever going to be heretics. None of you are witches. I trust that because I know each and every one of you wants to actually grow. Each of you wants the truth.
But heresy is dangerous because it’s so believable. They are lies specifically crafted to tempt you and draw you in. They play upon what you know and what you don’t know. They find that line, and answer your questions and uncertainties with lies. And if you listen, they are cutting into your soul to make you less.
Do not let them. Do not listen. If you recognize heresy and end the conversation or stop reading the text, you are whole and undamaged. You have seen the corruption and refused it. If you know someone, and find out later they are a witch or a heretic, your soul is still whole provided you do what you can to end their debasement of humanity. Call upon the inquisition. They are rough at times, I know, but it is only because they carry a heavy burden to guard all our souls.