Back in the mid-1990s I wrote a book on sin. Each of us knows sin experientially, of course, but few of us know it comprehensively even in that way because we are parochial even in our sinning. So I had to study sin. For a couple of years I read about sin in the Bible. I read commentaries on the Bible, theological encyclopedia articles and books on virtue and vice.
I had just arrived in a new parish when a member told me how, in a
horrific flash of fewer than two years, her husband died, her son was
incarcerated for drug possession and her daughter committed suicide. The
woman was disconsolate, drowning in grief and despairing of her empty,
painful future. That's when her pastor dared to say something so bold,
so outrageous, that she never forgot it.