When someone either currently has or by their sinful choices, is moving towards having what is known as a hardened heart, one of the core understandings of this is that the person frequently sins, usually in a grave manner, and is unrepentant. My question is if a person suffers from habitual sin in a grave matter but often frequents the sacraments of Confession (prior to receiving the Holy Eucharist) and the Holy Eucharist, can they still develop a hardened heart? Just to clarify, in this scenario, the individual does have contrition and does penance after receiving absolution. However, they still suffer and struggle with this habitual sin.
Read about this saint, St. Mark Ji Tianxiang, who remained faithful to God despite being unable to kick his opium addiction.
God has the power to remove a person’s entrenched habits of sin instantaneously, either within the Sacraments or outside of the Sacraments, but this lesser grace is usually withheld in order for the person to receive the greater grace of perseverance.
Who are some people who have experienced this?
Habitual sin may be mortal or venial and both kinds are voluntary. A habit may develop from voluntary actions, either directly or indirectly, and then become a form of slavery to sin. They key is to always give mental resistance to the sin, never to accept it as good and strive to avoid any near and voluntary occasion.
A hardened heart does not obey God (Ex. 7:13, 22). Such has no true intention to change.
Mark 6, even after the miracle of the multiplication of the five loaves and two fishes:
52 For they understood not concerning the loaves; for their heart was blinded.
Mark 8, And later when they had only seven loaves and a few fishes
4 And his disciples answered him: From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness?
18 Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? neither do you remember.
19 When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took you up? They say to him, Twelve.
The Apostles did change through the grace of God.
I truly believe that if the person is well disposed, the Lord will help him/her replace the bad habits with good habits and gradually move away from sin.
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