Do you feel when you are/aren't in a state of grace?


#1

I was reflecting on the teaching that missing mass is a mortal sin the other day, and I thought it was odd that I felt no different when I was “deprived of sanctifying grace.”

Then I realized that due to habitual sin, I’m in a state of mortal sin for probably 99% of my life. I know that this has numbed my sense of shame, and I wonder if it has also numbed my relationship with God.

Anyone who knows the definition of mortal sin can determine whether they’re in a state of grace or not. But for those of you who spend less time being hell-bound than me, are there any emotional indicators when you know you have committed a mortal sin? Do you feel pretty good while in a state of grace?

Am I missing the boat entirely by asking about feelings?


#2

Not entirely, I don’t think, though it’s not about feelings I know what you are getting at.

When I am in a state of mortal sin I do feel generally horrible - very sad and depressed, and so very very sorry that I’ve offended God, and I pray constantly that I’m protected until I get to Confession. It’s a feeling of having cheated on God - some would call it “good old fashioned Catholic guilt”, but I think that is a bit simplistic. It’s not only feeling guilty, but it does effect my whole self until I can get myself right with God through the sacrament.

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

~Liza


#3

You’re not far from the truth when you question whether feelings are crucial to the question as temperament, the depth of joy and gratitude we have, and other issues can affect our feelings. The peace that comes from being in a ‘state of grace’ can involve a feeling of peace, but it certainly is a knowledge of peace, a peace of mind unless one happens to be particularly scrupulous.

I find it hard to imagine that you’re in a state of mortal sin 99% of your life. I wonder if you are not being too hard on yourself, and that God Himself wouldn’t pin that tag on you.

But I’ll do this. I try to be a good Christian, a good Catholic, I go to Mass each day with love and pray for all, etc etc, so how about I do something for you that maybe you can have a more optimistic hope for your future! How about I ask God right now to place you in all the Masses and prayers of my life whether I’m thinking of you or not. That’s precisely what I’m doing, and I believe God grants that prayer.

Do the best you can manage to live the gospel in God’s love, knowing that “charity covers a multitude of sins” (Word of God in scripture.) And I’ll be praying for you. And God is merciful and generous so no more 'hell-bound thinking"!

Bless you, Trishie


#4

Feelings are pretty much worthless in this matter as they are so subjective and fickle. From her writings Mother Theresa certainly didn’t feel as if she were in God’s grace, or if she did, it wasn’t a slap happy feeling. I would also suspect that it is a feeling that leads you to your sin.

I would also caution against too much self-condemnation and the automatic presumption that you are outside of God’s grace. I don’t know what your habitual sins are, nor do I care to know, but by the very nature of being habitual could mean you don’t have full consent over your action. It doesn’t excuse the act nor lesson the act’s graveness; however, it may also not put you outside of God’s communion. The fact that you are concerned that it has would seem to indicate there still exists His grace within you.

Frequent the sacrament of reconciliation and spend time before the blessed sacrament in adoration. Pray, even if prayer feels dry and pointless. Pray anyway.


#5

Thanks, Trishie. That’s very kind of you.


#6

You’re welcome.

I also wanted to share with you the following text that directs us towards kindness to others. The text is reassuring as it promises that our genuine gospel charity towards other people is not only beneficial to others but also to ourselves. If we are just and good to others, and give help to the needy or grieved, our sins no longer blaze before God, (for as Jesus told us in Matthew 25:40 whatever we do for others we do for Him.)

“Cease to do evil. Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, and plead for the widow. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
[Isaiah 1:17-18]

God’s kindest blessings to you! Trishie


#7

Bringing up Mother Theresa is a good point. It would be innapropriate to trust one’s feelings over what one knows to be true.

I hope I don’t come across as being eager to condemn myself. Wallowing in self-pity is a waste of time. I haven’t been able to find a definitive answer on whether or not my habitual sin is mortal. I’ve heard arguments on both sides.


#8

If a sin is habitual there is no longer full consent as you are dealing with human habit, or with sinfulness rather than sin. But you should responsibly make your best efforts to overcome the tendency. Though you are not fully responsible you must sincerely and consciously work to amend your behaviour. I think maybe have a really good talk to Jesus about it all, and place your life, your temptations, and your wish to develop healthy responses and to avoid sin, but to grow in love and peace.


#9

Just one caveat - one is only not fully responsible if they were not fully responsible for the formation of the habit. If they knowingly entered into a habit of mortal sin then the habit retains full responsibility.

Pax Christi tecum.


#10

Emotions can be an indication but we can’t rely on them. We can “feel” guilty when we’re not and we can “feel” not guilty when we are. But sin is an objective fact. That is how we know. We make a good, lengthy examination of conscience based on objective sins and then ascertain if we’ve committed any in thought, will or deed. That is the best basis for the state of our soul.

In addition, if a habit of mortal sin has been acquired, that habit itself has so deformed the reason, weakened the will and affected the emotions that these “feelings” may very well be distorted. It is only by a life in grace, by Jesus’ love and mercy, that we find our faculties start to be well-ordered.

In conclusion, I’d say don’t trust your feelings. Trust an objective and honest examination of your soul, without being too scrupulous and without being too lenient. The surest way out of habitual mortal sin is complete confidence is Jesus, Who by His Passion and Cross has given His Divine Mercy to you for your salvation, and to distrust your self. Establish habitual spiritual practices so holy habits (virtues) can replace the unholy habits of sin (vices): daily prayer, frequent Sacraments (including weekly confessions), spiritual reading, penance and sacrifice such as fasting and other mortifications of the flesh (out of love of God and desire to please Him). Trust in Jesus and make Him your one Love. When He becomes all in your heart there is no room for sin.

Pax Christi tecum.


#11

Thanks everyone. I always get such good advice here.


#12

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