Sin: The Big Picture

An Ignatian Prayer Adventure online retreat

Lent is the season during which we consider what it means to be fallen creation, in need of divine help. In Week 3 of our Ignatian Prayer Adventure, we’re encouraged to think about sin at different levels. There’s the sin of Adam and Eve. There’s the sin of the individual. There’s also sin on a larger scale—sin that is entrenched in our social and political systems.

For the moment, I’d rather not try to define what “sin” means; for some people the very word sin is difficult to relate to, because often it is had been used to convey the idea that people are basically bad, and we do bad things. The larger Christian tradition believes that people are created in the image of God, and that we are defined, not by the “fall” into sin, but by our original state of glory and beauty as creatures made and loved by God.

So, rather than start with the word sin and define who we are by that, let’s start with the reality we live in and determine from that what sin is.

This week, take a slow and thoughtful look at the world around you, including your own home. Start with the idea that we are made because God desires us, and God’s dream for us is to love—to do and say and be everything out of love.

However, if we open our eyes, it soon becomes clear that love is not the impetus for so much that goes on in life. Where do you see love disrupted? Where do you see it despised and ignored? Where is love pushed to the side so that another force might take its place?

What damage occurs because love is not at the center? Identify the damage you either experience personally or observe as a witness.

Now, having taken that slow and thoughtful look, how would you define sin?

This post is a part of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure, Week 3.

Previous articleSin, O Happy Fault
Next articleBlog-alogue Third Question: What Would Ignatius Do?
Vinita Hampton Wright
Vinita Hampton Wright edited books for 32 years, retiring in 2021. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places and spirituality books Days of Deepening Friendship, The Art of Spiritual Writing, Small Simple Ways: An Ignatian Daybook for Healthy Spiritual Living, and, most recently, Set the World on Fire: A 4-Week Personal Retreat with the Female Doctors of the Church. Vinita is a spiritual director and continues to facilitate retreats and write fiction and nonfiction. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and a cat in Springdale, Arkansas.


  1. Our life here on earth is a journey, with God as our guide, that will take us to our true destination, which is Heaven, where we will be with God for all eternity. God loves us so much that He wants to spend eternity with us.
    However, we may stumble many times (by committing sin) during this journey when we do not keep our eyes on and stop listening to our guide (God). When this happens, we should get up as quickly as we can and ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Then we can get back on track and continue on our journey with God as our guide.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here