Shortcuts lead to dead ends

By 
  • May 13, 2007
I  was 18 years old when I competed in a regional lifeguard competition. My boss agreed to pay us to compete. However, days before the competition, we were practising for several hours and my teammates were signing in at work for their practice hours. They knew that it was wrong, but they did it anyway. I was jealous because they were making money and I wasn’t so I signed in too, thinking “if I get caught, we’ll all get caught.” Our manager never noticed what happened and we got away with stealing.
I felt guilty but I tried to forget that it happened. For months, I went to Confession but “forgot” to confess that I had stolen money. This past March, I finally found the courage to confess that sin and was filled with joy when the priest said, “your sins are forgiven.” The priest didn’t think poorly of me, he just looked at me with the eyes of Jesus.

We may not realize it, but stealing is a common sin. Signing extra work hours is just as bad as downloading music off the Internet, borrowing a friend’s clothes, CDs or money without giving them back or taking someone else’s words or ideas and putting them in our essays or projects without crediting them. It’s especially hard not to copy when writing an open book exam. Also, people steal by purchasing an item knowing that they’ll only use it once and then return it, or by pressuring a store manager to give them something they don’t deserve. Another example is returning things too late and then be unwilling to pay the late fees.

The more we obsess over material possessions, the further we are from God. In Mark 10:25 Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus teaches us to share what we have and to give to the poor, but how often do we volunteer to take snacks to youth events? We tend to volunteer only under pressure because deep down, we expect a reward. It’s much easier to go to a youth event and eat the free food than to buy and take something for others to eat. In a way, this is stealing because it’s always the same people that bring the food.

As summer approaches, we have more time on our hands. It’s important to take more time to pray for others and to put their needs before our own. Stealing only hurts people and brings us guilt. This summer, try to be as generous as possible and detach yourself from material possessions. Spend time reading the Bible, going to Mass and praying before the Blessed Sacrament. If you recall stealing anything, I urge you to confess it to a priest. Priests are humans too and they understand where you’re coming from. Being able to talk about that sin with them is the first step to overcoming it.

(Du Broy, 19,  is a journalism major at the University of Ottawa.)

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