When I was younger, the concept of reconciliation seemed very simple. You commit a sin. You receive absolution during confession. You are in a state of grace. If you die, you will attain salvation.
It was like getting dirty. You take a bath when you get dirty. You get clean and after, you can go to bed. However, as I grow in my walk, I feel that the situation might actually be more complicated and I wonder if I remain in a state of grace long enough for it to matter.
Let’s say I confess on Saturday. By Tuesday, if I’m honest with myself, I would say that my soul has already been stained by sin. Most people say not to worry because most of those sins are PROBABLY venial, but can one really accurately assess if they’ve committed a mortal or venial sin? I know that the requirements for mortal sin are full knowledge, full intent, and highly serious sin, but since we can easily deceive ourselves, can we accurately assess for ourselves the extent of knowledge, intent, and gravity?
As for gravity, I wouldn’t think that looking lustfully at a woman would be considered adultery, but Jesus apparently did, so other trivial sins from a human standpoint may actually be more serious. As for knowledge, I don’t really think that we can say, “I didn’t know a particular action was grave and so that’s way I did it.” If this were true, then mortal sin would pretty much be non-existent. I would think that the majority of people, in their right mind and who have any sort of concern for their relationship with God, wouldn’t do something that they knew was going to be grave. As for intent and being in the right mind, I feel that we can definitely deceive ourselves and say that we weren’t thinking at the time, but I don’t know if that reasoning would hold up with God.
Anyway, from a salvation standpoint, does the confession on Saturday really matter (considering that if I died in a car accident on Tuesday, my soul would already have been stained)? Should I be viewing the situation differently?
Just to be clear, it’s not like I’m sinning rampantly. In fact, I can ALMOST say that I don’t violate any of the ten commandments like the man in Luke 18, who said the same thing to Jesus, but left sad, when Jesus told him to sell his stuff. The man actually violated the first commandment by idolizing wealth over God. I’m not saying that wealth is bad or that I’m sinning by not selling my stuff, but I do have to admit that there are things in my life that I put above God every day, causing me to violate the first commandment.