An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, as I impatiently wrap up Book 1 in a single installment. (I’ve changed the track numbers of the first few chapters of Book 2, accordingly.)
As St. Paul said, all sins are wrong, but not all sins are deadly. Deadly sins = mortal sins. Not deadly = venial. As you will hear, however, Catholic teaching doesn’t regard venial sins as something to sneeze at, and even faults and bad tendencies are stuff you’re supposed to try to fight. Your mom the Church doesn’t want you getting away with anything! And in this case, Mom really does know best. (Yeah, yeah, I know I don’t do a good job with this. But do what the podcaster says, not what she does!)
We’ve talked about “attachment” before; it was a big topic for St. John of the Cross in The Ascent of Mount Carmel and its sequel, The Dark Night of the Soul. Basically, any time you get too wound up in a thing or even a person, and treat that thing or person like your own little god instead of what it really is, you are attached to it. The thing or person isn’t bad, or even bad for you; your attachment is what’s hurting you. So basically, a lot of the job of becoming holy is finding and unwinding the silly little attachments you have somehow managed to twist yourself into, so that you can be free to love God, and so you can love all His creations for what they are, and not what they aren’t. So again, St. Francis de Sales isn’t saying that fun stuff is evil. He’s saying that maybe his young friend Philothea gets herself a little too worked up about some fun stuff, and may therefore have to avoid it for her spiritual health.