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condemned by the tyrant to suffer this cruel death was the artificer who had made the ox of bronze. Those who heard this said, “ That man was burned in the fire he kindled; ’’ that is to say, he was to blame for his own misfortune because he provided the king with the means of torturing others.

Q. What is mortal sin?

A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

The Biter Bitten

A brigand once concealed himself behind a thicket, lying in wait with a gun in his hand for a wealthy merchant who was to pass that way. When he heard his intended victim approaching, the robber dropped on one knee, in order to take better aim. Unwittingly he knelt upon a snake that was hidden beneath the dry leaves. The infuriated reptile sprang up and coiled itself round the arm and neck of the robber, who fired but missed his aim. On hearing his agonized cry, for the snake had already bitten him, the merchant hastened up. “ Alas! ” groaned the brigand, “ it serves me right. At the very moment when I thought to take your life, I meet my own death.” So it is with mortal sin; at the very moment we are guilty of it, the serpent of hell causes the death of our soul.

Q. Why is this sin called mortal?

A. This sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul.