DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     March 5-7, 1999     vol. 10, no. 45


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    INTRODUCTION      "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

          She continues her series on Lent, devoting today's column to another type of sin that too often Catholics brush aside as harmless, but she wakes us up that nothing is little to God if it offends Him and the more little sins we commit, the greater the chances of our soul's immune system breaking down and allowing the cancerous mortal sin to enter. This is the essence of her column Remember Venial Sin?

          Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www.heartofmaryministry.com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy@aol.com by e-mail.


          Mortal sin is saying "NO!" to God in serious matter. It kills love in the soul and makes the soul an enemy of God. Unforgiven mortal sin is what keeps us out of Heaven and sends us to hell. (Please refer to my article last week.)

          But there are less serious sins we humans commit called VENIAL SINS which, though they do not destroy charity in the soul, they do diminish fervor and love and hinder their development.

          On occasion I hear the comment: "Oh, itís only a little sin" or "Itís just a white lie!" I would like to shout from the housetops: NO SIN IS LITTLE NOR SHOULD ANYONE THINK OF ANY SIN AS NOTHING TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT!!! Sin is an OFFENSE against God. God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, Who made all things and keeps them in existence (Baltimore Catechism). God is the SUPREME BEING!!! Any offense against Him is not a LITTLE matter.

          Though a million venial sins, of themselves, will not send a person to hell, habitual deliberate venial sin does decrease the soulís inclination to God. It moves the soul to look for more self-satisfaction; it causes the loss of a sense of sin and creates tepidity. Habitual and deliberate venial sins can eventually weaken the soul to commit mortal sin. Therefore, one should never think of venial sin as something insignificant or "little."

          That we should not have a careless attitude regarding the committing of deliberate venial sins, St. Teresa of Avila once wrote: "Always be fearful if you do not feel sorry for the faults you commit, for even venial sin ought to fill you with sorrow to the very depths of your soul... For the love of God , take care not to commit any deliberate venial sin, even the smallest... And can anything be small if it offends God?" (Way of Perfection, 41).

          But note that I said "deliberate venial sins," for there are sins we weak human beings commit through frailty and inadvertence. Even great saints fell into these indeliberate sins. That is, they tried hard to avoid sin, but often through sheer human weakness found themselves fall when an "attack" was unexpected. Remember Jesus once said: "Even the just man falls seven times a day."

          God permits us to fail like that so that we come to mistrust ourselves and rely more on Him. God wishes to anchor souls in humility, the foundation of the spiritual life. Actually, we can grow in love for God from these "falls," if we quickly repent and ask Godís pardon. These failures makes us realize more and more that "Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

          We can be sure that indeliberate venial sins are not real offensive to God because bad will or an intent to sin is absent.

          Hope you are preparing to make a good confession before Easter. I have a great examination of conscience booklet that can help you, just e-mail me at Srmarylucy@aol.com. Iíd be happy to send you one. Next week Iíll write on "imperfections!"

          God bless you!

March 5-7, 1999       volume 10, no. 45


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