How do we know if we are in a state of grace?

Is it possible to know whether we are in a state of grace? Maybe there might have been certain mortal sins we committed but we do not remember them?

If you can’t remember doing anything that would destroy the state of grace, you ought to assume you are in it.

Find someone to talk to in real life about scrupulosity. This seems obviously personally related to other threads you have begun about sin and guilt.



You need to have more faith in God’s mercy.
**You absolutely need to find a Spiritual Advisor. **

To help you with your scrupulosity, please consider using the following form for your confessions (there is a slightly longer one with this same intent; however, this is the form I teach to my 6th grade CCD kids):
Bless me Father for I have Sinned
It has been (length of time) since my last confession
and these are my sins
(recant the **type **of mortal sin and number… you don’t need details unless they are mitigating - it’s good to also confess venial sins, also type and number.)
for these sins and all the sins of my past life I am truly sorry.
I ask pardon of God and penance and absolution from you Father.

Now, unless you have **willfully **omitted a mortal sin, which would require you to **actually remember **and know it was a mortal sin at the time it was committed - this form includes it “for these sins and all the sins of my past life I am truly sorry” and by intent you have included it in your confession and once the priest absolves you then as Elsa and Anna would say… let it go.(yes… I linked to the Disney Vid :slight_smile: )

Peace be with you…


Forgotten mortal sins are absolved in the sacrament of Penance.

Mortal sins are absolved in the sacrament of Reconciliation. They are also forgiven at the instant we make a perfect act of contrition in prayer. Forgotten mortal sins are instantly forgiven in the act of perfect contrition and are absolved in Reconciliation.

Heaven is our intended destination and hell is an alternative. Therefore, God is constantly working towards us going where we are intended to go. If for some reason we feel we are not moved into perfect contrition, then we pray to God for a humble heart and the grace to become perfectly contrite, and we can have full confidence that this will be given to us before our death.

Why? Because it is possible that in some petitions, God’s answer will be “No” since our request is not ultimately towards our good. But if we pray for contrition, it is impossible for such a request not to be towards our good, therefore it will granted.

Re-read the part on mortal sin in the CCC, and then do an examination of conscience. There are many examinations of conscience online or in the Laudate app.

Granted all of this is possible; however, the act of perfect contrition is very difficult for many to obtain - let me stress here the key word: perfect and as ResoluteSheep appears to suffer scrupulosity, such could prove to be difficult indeed.

Furthermore, Least we lead someone astray, even with “perfect” contrition Catholics are still obligated to go to confession and may not under ordinary circumstances receive Communion until they have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
CCC1452: When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

**Perfect Contrition
Question from Mike Carter on 06-19-2003: **

Mr. Donovan. In a recent answer you quoted doctrine regarding communion and mortal sin. It stated that if one satisfied the several requirements, then they could receive communion after making a perfect act of contrition. Please explain: 1)what a perfect act of contrition is, 2) what type of person/state of piousness qualifies one to make a perfect act of contrition, and 3) how a person goes about making one. Thank you. Mike

**Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 07-02-2003: **

I wouldn’t characterize it that way. I explained Catholic doctrine on attaining justice extra-sacramentally. It applies whenever we actually do make an act of perfect contrition, something we should attempt as soon after falling into grave sin as possible.

"Perfect contrition. Sorrow for sin arising from perfect love. In perfect contrition the sinner detests sin more than any other evil, because it offends God, who is supremely good and deserving of all human love. Its motive is founded on God’s own goodness and not merely his goodness to the sinner or to humanity. This motive, and not the intensity of the act, less still the feelings experienced, is what essentially constitutes perfect sorrow.
A perfect love of God, which motivates perfect contrition, does not necessarily exclude attachment to venial sin. Venial sin conflicts with a high degree of the perfect love of God but not with the substance of that love. Moreover, in the act of perfect contrition other motives can coexist with the perfect love required. There can be fear or gratitude, or even lesser motives such as self-respect or self-interest, along with the dominant reason for sorrow, which is love for God.

Perfect contrition removes the guilt and eternal punishment due to grave sin even before sacramental absolution. However, a Catholic is obliged to confess his or her grave sins at the earliest opportunity and may not, in normal circumstances, receive Communion before he or she has been absolved by a priest in the sacrament of penance." [Fr. John Hardon, SJ, Pocket Catholic Dictionary]

So, as Fr. Hardon makes clear, this is not a frenzied act of feeling but the will to love God primarily for His goodness, and not from fear or lesser motives, though they may coexist with the predominant motive. There is no way of knowing with an absolute certainty if one has made a perfect act of contrition, but all that is required is the standard of all human action, moral certainty. If you can say an act of contrition in these or similar words truthfully, intending it, then I think you would have moral certainty.

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell;
but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.

Finally, note the Fr. Hardon says that despite this restoration to justice by an act of perfect contrition that “a Catholic is obliged to confess his or her grave sins at the earliest opportunity and may not, in normal circumstances, receive Communion before he or she has been absolved by a priest…” In the abnormal circumstances of having “a grave reason to receive communion and having no opportunity to go to confession” (canon 916), only then may a Catholic, having made a perfect act of contrition, receive Communion. The lack of a moral certainty that one has made such an act would mean that one is still in mortal sin and may not, under any circumstances, even grave ones, go to Communion.


It is not difficult to obtain. If you pray to God for the grace of perfect contrition, then it will be granted in due time. Even our sorrow for sin isn’t our own work, but the work of God inside of us. It isn’t dependent on our effort. Only our surrender is required. Let us consider the various circumstances of life, such as priests frequently being unavailable upon a person’s death. Does this mean, because of a supposed lack of great exercise of will, along with the unfortunate circumstances of not having a priest, that a person cannot achieve perfect contrition? Of course not. They pray for this grace, and for the intervention of the saints, especially of the Blessed Mother, and before the soul is separated from the body, they may & will acquire it. Only in stubborn rejection is their doom.

The word perfect in ‘perfect contrition’ is not used the way the word is normally used though. It doesn’t mean we are a perfect person when we are contrite. It just means we understand what we did is wrong, and we love God, and we’re not just doing it for the carrot of Heaven or to avoid the pains of hell (although, those motivations can and do exist in addition to perfect contrition).

And yes, of course, Reconciliation still needs to be celebrated ASAP. This isn’t because the perfect act of contrition is somehow insufficient for Almighty God to cleanse you, but by definition of it being perfect contrition, that includes obedience to the Church and to encounter Christ personally & literally. Every sacrament is a public act, because there is always a minimum of three present in it, such as Christ, the priest, and the penitent. None of the sins we do are truly private, because they effect the entire sanctity of the Church.

We cannot sense grace as present in us; grace is supernatural. Since grace is beyond experience we cannot know that we are in a state of grace. The existence of the supernatural is properly the object of faith; we can only believe and hope that God is present in us. What we believe through faith is often more reliable than what we know through sense experience.
Joan of Arc is asked : Do you know if you are in the grace of God? If I am not, may God place me there; if I am, may God so keep me. I should be the saddest in all the world if I knew that I were not in the grace of God.

If one has forgotten mortal sins - yet repents and goes to confession - confessing all mortal sins one recalls- the forgotten ones too are absolved. One is repenting of all mortal sins …and just forgot one (maybe!)

If later one remembers one - one simply brings it to the next confession.

How does one enter a state of salvation -of grace - of living “in Christ”? True life!

By repenting…and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and receiving baptism.

Via Faith and Baptism…

And if one has committed a mortal sin - one repents and turns back to the Lord via his forgiveness and grace in Confession.

Can I know that I remain in this state? This state of grace. Do I have “certainty”?

On “a given day” I can have a kind of moral certainty …sure it is not absolute infallible certainty (unless perhaps by a very extraordinary special private revelation from God)…it is a moral certainty.

Positive indications can be:

From the orientation of my heart towards God in love…or other ways the “presence of God” is “experienced” in prayer and in various ways…etc (cf Rom 8:16, 2 Cor 13:15).

But one may not have any experience currently. That does not mean one is away from God.

Or from negative indications: that is not being conscious of having committed any mortal sin…

And thus not being conscious that one has have left that state of grace.

To commit a mortal sin there needs to be grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate consent. Together.

Do we live in fear?

No - we live in joy and faith and hope and love.

(and such is not necessarily going to involve any emotions)

We walk by Faith not by sight.

I commend to you the following readings:

"Moreover, our radical belonging to Christ and the fact that “we are in him” must imbue in us an attitude of total trust and immense joy. In short, we must indeed exclaim with St Paul: “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8: 31). And the reply is that nothing and no one “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8: 39). Our Christian life, therefore, stands on the soundest and safest rock one can imagine. And from it we draw all our energy, precisely as the Apostle wrote: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil 4: 13).

Therefore, let us face our life with its joys and sorrows supported by these great sentiments that Paul offers to us. By having an experience of them we will realize how true are the words the Apostle himself wrote: “I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me”; in other words, until the Day (II Tm 1: 12) of our definitive meeting with Christ the Judge, Saviour of the world and our Saviour."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

“If we are in relation with him who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we “live”.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI (Spe Salvi)

"“Gaudete in Domino semper”, St Paul wrote: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4). True joy is not a fruit of “divertirsi” [having a good time] understood in the etymological sense of the word di-vertere (di-version), that is, shirking the commitments of life and one’s responsibilities.

True joy is linked to something deeper. Of course, in the all too often frenetic pace of daily life it is important to find time for rest and relaxation, but true joy is linked to our relationship with God. Those who have encountered Christ in their own lives feel a serenity and joy in their hearts that no one and no situation can take from them. St Augustine understood this very well; in his quest for truth, peace and joy, after seeking them in vain in many things he concluded with his famous words: “and our heart is restless until it rests in God” (cf. Confessions, I, 1, 1).

True joy is not merely a passing state of mind or something that can be achieved with the person’s own effort; rather it is a gift, born from the encounter with the living Person of Jesus and, making room within ourselves, from welcoming the Holy Spirit who guides our lives. It is the invitation of the Apostle Paul who says: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:23)."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

(again such is not per se a matter of the emotions…tis deeper that such …though it can can does effect the emotions too at times…Christian joy though can exist even in great suffering…)

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