Just as good trees bear only good fruit, so good men probably never commit mortal sins.




In the Gospel Jesus says, “A good tree does not bear bad fruit.” He seems to be saying that right-minded people consistently choose to do the right thing.

That thought puts me in mind of something I read twenty years ago on a weekend when I was spiritual director for the Women’s Cursillo. (Those weekends are like intensive three-day retreats.)

Someone provided the priest for the weekend with a house trailer, and I spent hours lounging out there, reading. I was reading Father Richard McBrien’s two-volume book “Catholicism,” and I came across a passage where he spoke of good men who raised families, sending the kids to Catholic schools, remaining honest with their wives. He said such men probably go through their whole lives without committing one mortal sin. (To me that sounds like what Jesus said about good trees.)

Anyway, that weekend a woman whose hard working husband had died in an accident came to me. She said he had missed Sunday Mass several times, and that left her to fear that he had died out of the state of Grace. I was happy that I was able to quote to her what the book said. Her good husband probably hadn’t committed one mortal sin in all life. He was a good tree that could not bear bad fruit.

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