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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Personal Sin

In addition to the effects of original sin, there is personal sin – sin committed by an individual. We sin personally whenever we knowingly and deliberately violate the moral law. By sinning we fail to love God. We turn aside from – or even back away from – our lifetime goal of doing God’s will. A mortal sin is a fundamental rejection of God’s love. By it God’s grace-presence is driven from the sinner. Mortal means ‘death dealing’. This sin kills God’s life and love in the person sinning. For a sin to be mortal there must be
  • serious matter
  • sufficient reflection
  • full consent of the will.
A venial sin is a less serious rejection of God’s love. Venial means ‘easily forgiven’. A sin is venial if the offense is not serious, or if the matter is serious – the person is not sufficiently aware of the evil involved, or does not fully constent to the sin.
Venial sin is like a spiritual sickness which hurts but does not kill God’s grace-presence within the person. There can be degrees of seriousness in sinning just as different sickness can be more or less serious. Even less serious sins should not be taken lightly. People in love do not want to offend each other in any way, even the slightest.
Sins, of whatever seriousness, do not have to be actions. A person can sin by thought or desire or by failing to do something that should be done. God will forgive any sin, even the most serious, over and over, if the person is truly sorry.

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