Unprofitable Servants and the Sin of Presumption

“We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do” -Luke 17:10

There is always a risk for us to think that we are more than we actually are or that we are entitled to some spiritual good. Every Christian needs to have the posture of humility. Once a person develops this internal posture, then he or she can fully live the theological virtue of hope. Hope, a virtue infused by God, is more than an abstract feeling that things will all work out or a pattern of positive thinking. Hope trusts God to give whatever necessary for Eternal Happiness.

The lesson Our Blessed Lord teaches in today’s Gospel is that we need to shun the sin of presumption. Presumption attacks hope in two ways: first, it is presumption for a person to trust too much in oneself with regards to their salvation; second, presumption is a sin that expects too much from God. This is seen in the case of a person who asks God’s help in something that is contrary to His law (i.e. with sinning), or when someone sins because they know that God is merciful. Every person is a sinner who can and should hope in God’s mercy. However, sinning as a result of human weakness is a different thing from sinning specifically because one can be forgiven.

Humility allows us to see ourselves as we really are, while hope allows us to remain focused on our Ultimate Goal. Taken together, these two virtues keep us safe from the sin of presumption and on the path to Heaven.

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