So there we have it!!
There is a lot in there
The first thing the Church makes the claim right off the bat that there are different kinds of sin
Paragraph 1854 says, “Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture, became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.”
There are some Christians who believe that every sin is of the same weight and that there is no distinction between mortal and venial sin
There are some Christians who believe that stealing $5 and murdering someone is the same
We Catholic Christians disagree with that
We get the distinction between mortal and venial sin from the Bible itself
1 John Ch 5 talks about sins that are lead to death and sins that do not lead to death
So right there is the distinction between mortal and venial sin
Even when it comes to each other there are certain things that we can do to violate our relationships that have different weights
Yes, we should not lie to each other
When a person lies in a particular way or about a particular thing, that can have greater significance
Paragraph 1855 says, “Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.”
Mortal sin destroys the love in our hearts and takes us out of that right relationship with God
We are no longer in a state of grace
Let’s listen to Fr. Mike’s “gruesome” example of bullfighting…
Small sins are apparently called “peccadilloes”
They do not kill us but they wound us to such a degree that it’s far easier for the Evil One to deliver that killing blow
It’s not like venial sins are no big deal
St. Augustine says in Paragraph 1863, “While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call ‘light’: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession…”
A bunch of venial sins can weigh us down to such a place where mortal sin is the next clear step
Paragraph 1857 says, “For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: ‘Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.’”
So what is a GRAVE MATTER?
The Church has never published a comprehensive list of mortal sins and grave matters
Paragraph 1858 says, “Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.’ The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.”
We want to land somewhere between being way too general and vague when it comes to confessing this sin
Don’t come into confession and say, “Bless me Father, I stole a rope” and neglect to mention that there was a cow attached to the rope
You actually stole a cow
We have to include all of the relevant details that could affect the severity of the sin
The details affect the gravity of the sin
There are factors like relationships, who is wronged
There are factors like the amount
Why doesn’t the Church list all of the mortal sins and all of the grave matter?
Because of all the factors that go into it
There are sins that are of a more grave nature when they directly violate God and when they violate the dignity of the human person
Sins that violate God directly are always of a grave nature
Taking the Lord’s name in vain or violating the Sabbath by not attending Mass
Getting involved with witchcraft
(Also, rooting for the Dallas Cowboys would be a grave matter….I KID I KID!!!! 🤣)
These all violate God so they have a graver nature to themselves
Sins that violate the dignity of the human person have a more severe nature to them as well
Violence against a human being
Using another person sexually
They have a graver nature to those sins because they violate the dignity of the human person
So mortal sin also requires FULL KNOWLEDGE and COMPLETE CONSENT
I need to KNOW that this is a mortal sin
I need to FREELY CHOOSE to commit this mortal sin
Paragraph 1859 says, “Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.”
Hardness of heart is knowing that this is a sin and yet not caring that it is a sin
That does not mitigate our responsibility or culpability
It INCREASES our responsibility and culpability because we are now PRETENDING to not know or CHOOSING not to care
THAT IS PRETTY DEADLY!!
Think about trying to do that in a relationship with another human being
How many times can a husband or wife get away with pretend ignorance or hardness of heart?
How long would that relationship last if you said, “Yeah, I know that’s what you wanted but I don’t care.”
That would not last at all
Paragraph 1864 says, “‘Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.’ There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.”
God wants to forgive us of our sins
The ONLY SIN that God won’t forgive is the sin that we don’t ALLOW Him to forgive
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is REFUSING to allow God to forgive us
God wants to give us His mercy
God wants to heal us, forgive us, reconcile us to Himself
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is REJECTING the forgiveness of our sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit
In order to have the GOOD NEWS we need to know the BAD NEWS
The GREAT NEWS is God wants to forgive all of our sins
He will only do this if we ALLOW Him to do it
God wants us to come to Him with all of our mortal sins, even the ones we are embarrassed by and even the ones we may still like
God wants us to LET IT GO
God wants us to GIVE THEM TO HIM
God wants to forgive YOU of all of your sins
So do not have that sin against the Holy Spirit
We all must trust in God and trust in His mercy and say, “Ok, God. These are my mortal sins that I knew about and freely chose and I am laying them down at your feet. I am laying them down at the foot of the Cross. And I am trusting in you to forgive me now.”
Those of us who are going through Catechism in a Year, who are hearing this today and are convicted by God’s mercy, by God’s love, convicted in the depths of our conscience will seek out Confession AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
IF IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME, THIS IS YOUR SIGN!!
Our brothers and sisters who have been away from Confession and are holding on to whatever these sins are, turn to the Lord RIGHT NOW!!
TRUST IN HIS MERCY BY GOING TO CONFESSION!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I’ll see you when I see you!!