Help Please!


A couple of months ago, I came across the idea that there are two types of contrition, attrition and full contrition?

Well, anyways, this has really effected my prayer life, to the point that I stopped praying the rosary and all my little devotions. For example when I would try and say the ‘Our Father’…forgive us our trespasses, my mind would immediately wonder, is it attrition asking or contrition? And that would lead to despair because most of the time, I never really could be sure whether I was repentant because I loved Jesus or for some other reason. And whenever I did ask for forgiveness because I loved Jesus, I was immediately repulsed by the idea that His forgiveness depended on me. Before all this, I considered myself a little child where Jesus and Mary were concerned, maybe even an infant and I just trusted them to take care of me and hold me ect. Now I’m afraid, I’m too small…if something becomes dependent on me…? What do I do? I don’t have that childlike relationship with them anymore. I feel like I have to grow up quick…and I can’t. Help please.


No need to grow up quick. Jesus Himself advised us to become as little children, and St. Therese the Little Flower, a Doctor of the Church, taught that the way of spiritual childhood is the quickest way to Jesus.

Although it is not as lofty as true contrition, there is nothing wrong with attrition. In fact, attrition is all that is required in order to receive God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.

Certainly, the dear Lord Who made us understands the limitations of humanity and does not expect perfect motives from us all the time.

Be at peace, and don’t worry about doing your devotions with less than perfect motives. God loves you no matter what, in the same way that a loving parent loves a child who tries and fails to do something well.



What if I were to ever commit mortal sin? What if I have? I don’t really understand the distinction between mortal and venial sin. Everything thing I’ve read has just confused me, even the catechism :confused:


Dear cheryl_80

If you don’t know if you committed a mortal sin, and the lack of knowledge is no fault of yours, you haven’t committed one.

God bless you


Well, see what makes it confusing is that I wasn’t raised catholic, but lutheran. I knew the ten commandments and so when I sinned, I knew it was wrong. And there were times when I wanted to do what I wanted to do so bad, that I felt as if I rejected Christ as if Christ were against me. But more than that, I’m afraid of ever committing mortal sin. I’m afraid of the possibility.

What does it take to commit a mortal sin? I’ve read the catechism, but I don’t really understand what’s being said.:frowning:


For a sin to be mortal, there must be all three of these conditions:
*]Grave (serious) matter
*]Knowledge (you must know it is sinful at the time you commit it)
*]Full consent of the will (you were not coerced into doing it)
Or, as my first grade teacher used to say, “It must be a big sin, I know it is a big sin, and I choose to do it anyway.”

A well-formed conscience can tell what is grave matter. A priest in the confessional can help you understand whether something is a mortal sin; just ask. The Catechism can be a guide, but as you discovered, it can be difficult to understand. The Catechism sometimes uses words such as “gravely sinful,” “intrinsically evil,” etc. that indicate mortal sin (if done with knowledge and consent). Some examples:
*]Stealing something of substantial value
*]For a Catholic, missing Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation without a good reason such as illness
*]Involvement with the occult (fortune telling, seances, etc.)
*]Most sexual sins (adultery, fornication, masturbation, anything with the intent of arousing sexual feelings with someone other than your spouse)
*]Use of contraceptives
*]In-vitro fertilization
*]Denying your faith
*]Going for a long time without prayer
*]Seriously injuring someone (physically or emotionally)
*]Participating in, encouraging, or condoning abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia
*]Causing someone else to commit a serious sin

There are many others; these are just a few examples.


Dear cheryl_80

God created you and died for your sins, He loves you very much :). Mortal sin is about a willful rejection of your relationship with God, to the point that more drastic steps must be taken to amend the relationship (confession). As far as I understand it, a number of criteria must be meet before you can call something a mortal sin.

  1. First of all, its subject must be a grave (or serious) matter. While the Church haven’t given us a complete list, we are taking about subjects such as murder/violence/abortion, adultery/fornication/masturbation, stealing, serious lies, refusal to go to mass (without serious reasons), disassociating yourself from God, etc.

  2. However in itself, your sin does not turn into a mortal sin. It must be committed with full knowledge on your part, both concerning the sinfulness and the gravity of the offense. In so far that any ignorance is not fault for your own, you must seek to form you conscience in alignment with Church teaching, you can not be blamed for any sins you committed without knowing they were sins.

  3. Finally the sin must be committed with deliberate and complete consent. Basically you have to consciously choose to commit the sin. It is not a mortal sin if you forget to set your alarm clock, and wake up to late to go to mass. The reason for this is simple, you did not intend for it to happen. A less direct example would be sinning while being under the influence of issues such as addiction or mental disorders. In such cases a person might not have a free choice in the matter, and thus the sin would not be mortal.

Anyway to me it sounds like you have a good and sincere heart :thumbsup:, but that you are suffering from a bit of scrupulosity. I advice you to talk to a good confessor or spiritual director about this subject.

God bless you

closed #8

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