Thank you for the good work you do through this blog. I check it once or twice daily, because I always look forward to your insightful and incisive commentary.
May I ask: If I am in a state of mortal sin and thus lacking charity, will my prayers avail of anything? In a word, and please pardon the bluntness, is there any point in praying while in a state if mortal sin?
Oh my, yes! There is always a point in praying and your prayers are always attended by God who is mercy, love and patience.
Prayer for good things is never in vain. Prayer that God’s will be done is never not effective.
When we commit a mortal sin, it is true that we kill the life of grace in the soul. That’s why we call the sin “mortal”: it kills us spiritually, insofar as the indwelling of the Trinity is concerned.
However, mortal sin does not remove our baptismal, or confirmed or ordained or married character. We still pray as baptized children of God and God listens.
In these cases, we open ourselves to the graces that God is constantly pinging us with. Think of something like sonar… ping ping ping trying to get our attention to bring us back up out of the dark depths to which we dropped ourselves. God offers us the sort of graces that help our a) self-understanding (“Rats, I really am a sinner who has deserved Hell and who has offended a loving God.”), and b) realization that there’s a way out (“I could go to confession.”) and c) the strengthening of resolve to get off our backsides and actually go to seek reconciliation (“Let’s DO this thing!”).
The Lord’s parable about the foolish young prodigal son of his father shows us these stages. First, he realizes what a horrid state he is in. Then, he remembers his father’s house. Then, he resolves to go home and actually gets moving. Meanwhile, the father isn’t just hanging around, he is watching for his son’s return and, before the foolish kid even gets to the house, the father goes to him.
God offers us what are called prevenient graces… graces that “go before” so that we can then accept the sanctifying grace that returns with confession and absolution.
There is no sin that is so great that we little mortals can commit that God won’t forgive provided we ask for forgiveness.
He wants to forgive. He’s waiting to forgive. He’s listening for our plea.
It is as if while with one hand he pours subtle graces into our minds, with the other hand cupped to His ear He listens for even the slightest reaction so that He can give us more. Our conversions are truly our conversions, but they also come with God’s helping hands. Think of a child who has offended. Dad says, “What do you say?” “Sorry!”
Pray especially when you are pretty sure that you are not in the state of grace. Ask for all the graces you need to understand yourself better and then to be strong to get up and go to confession.
While there is breath and heartbeats in our bodies, God is showering us with graces, even those who have virtually hardened their hearts through neglect or conscious resistance that becomes habit. He offers the graces even though we pridefully armor ourselves against them.
Everyone… if you have not been to confession for a while and you are pretty sure you are in the state of mortal sin – BECAUSE YOUR PROBABLY ARE! – take this post as a poor tool that God may be using to tweak you into action.
GO TO CONFESSION!
Has it been a long time since you said those words to the confessor?
“Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee…”.
Has it been a long time since you heard those words of the confessor?
“EGO TE ABSOLVO…. I absolve you…”.
GO TO CONFESSION!
Remember the freedom of the newly reconciled. Think of the lightness of spirit and the relief and the knowledge that you can make good Communions again.
GO TO CONFESSION!