If even the smallest sins

block God’s graces, how is one to grow in holiness when God’s grace is needed to do so?

Also, the phrase “though your sins be as scarlet” … yet even the smallest sin is like a scarlet stain.

What is one to do to grow in holiness?
How can one resist or give up even the smallest sin without the Grace of God? Even repentance is dependent on God’s grace.

Thanks for any help or advice.

God bless.

The power of sin is broken by the power of light. Confessing our sins to one another – and not just in the sacrament – is the best way to avail yourself of God’s grace.

Please demonstrate this premise is true before proceeding further.

The smallest sins block the Grace of God?

Or rather - does the fact that one has venial sins mean that one does not receive the grace of God?

Such would not be correct. One is not only in the State of Grace (true life! in Christ) but one yes receives various graces.

We struggle with such “daily sins” …well* daily.*

Let us though not wait for Confession to seek forgiveness (though let us go often!) for they are forgiven in many ways -contrition, prayer, reading Sacred Scripture, the Mass, Holy Communion, the prayerful use holy water, little short prayers, acts of love etc

Let us pray the Our Father…“forgive us our trespasses…” (in the early Church such was often prayed three times a day.

CCC The first communities prayed the Lord’s Prayer three times a day,18 in place of the “Eighteen Benedictions” customary in Jewish piety. scborromeo.org/ccc/p4s2a1.htm

You are making this a binary (All or Nothing) case when it is not.

Yes even small sins “block” God’s graces…but not fully. Small sins are like the gink that collects in the trap of your sink’s drain. each bit “blocks” the flow of water to an extent - even though water can still pass through. Similarly with God’s grace while small sins block some grace - they don’t completely shut it off.

Likewise even the smallest repentance can reopen the flow of grace…maybe not fully since often times our repentance isn’t perfect - but graces can and do flow.

Hope this helps


James hit the nail on the head. Small sins only block some of God’s grace, they do not annihilate all the graces flowing into your soul. If they did, they would (by definition) be mortal sins.

These are the kind of dilemmas I often find myself in.

It was somewhere in the Diary of St. Faustina that I saw the quote. (Am trying to find it again). And somewhere else reading that even the smallest sin is as scarlet.
Yes, I understand that I sometimes chase myself in circles, which is why I brought the question here. Trying to figure it out in my own head usually leads to more confusion and torment. So I turn to others to help me understand.

I wasn’t asking to be difficult, but in the hopes that someone else could help me to unravel the questions that torment me.

Thanks for your responses.
They’ve been helpful.

God bless.

Involuntary offences of souls do not hinder My love for them or prevent Me from uniting Myself with them but voluntary offences, even the smallest, obstruct My graces and I cannot lavish My gifts on such souls. (1641)

Note the highlighted word.

Does not mean one does not receive graces at all (and remember one is in a State of Sanctifying Grace).

Certainly we need to repent of such if they happen -even if we have to do so daily as we struggle to turn away from a particular deliberate venial sin and live more free in Christ.

Yes deliberate venial sin is what in particular we ought to work by grace against (after mortal of course) - and *repent of such quickly and calmly *if it happens (see my post above). It yes such can impede our progress (thankfully though we can quickly repent if we commit such!). The more one cooperates with grace and the more grace perfects one - the more and more of a saint in Christ one becomes - the more and more profoundly united with him.

Knowing too that without a special grace - we cannot avoid ever committing some venial sins - hence they are called “daily” sins. But we can work to avoid “this sin here”. And let us daily repent --calmly turning with trust to the Lord. And frequenting the Sacraments.

It is good to see a longer description of venial sin -pay attention to the whole:


1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”


Again see my post above about quickly seeking forgiveness (calmly) of venial sins in so many ways. For one remains in a State of Grace and such can be repaired “from within”.

Also read this from Pope Benedict XVI - meditate upon it and the reality of being a Christian in Christ:


(read it to the end - maybe print it out - keep it for meditation).

Bookcat nailed it (as usual).

I noted the term lavish as well - plus the term “obstruct”.

As I stated in my post earlier, we need to avoid making the flow of grace as binary - on or off.
Obstructed CAN mean completely shut down, but not necessarily.
Examples -

  1. A traffic accident will obstruct traffic, but it might not completely shut the road down.
  2. A tall person in front of me might “obstruct” my view, but not completely block it.

So the biggest help I can offer to the OP is to try to remove this tendency to view this in an “all or nothing” way.
Grace has to always work through and within our imperfections.


Thank you so much. The links are very helpful. I have both bookmarked for further study and reflection. :slight_smile:

God bless you.

LOL, usually I get caught up in “gray” thinking.
Thank you for your help, it is a good analogy and helpful.

May God bless You.

My mind is always going in circles about this stuff.
I know that there have been times in my life when, by God’s grace, I have been able to give up a sin, which confused me, because there would be other sins…

Someone asked me many years ago (not pertaining to religion) if I were “trying to get better, or trying to get perfect?” (as in overnight ‘tada’ perfect). That has dawned on me recently.

Light can shine into darkness, but darkness cannot shine into light.

Thank you and God bless you PS.

Sometimes the premise is in one’s own mind and/or misinterpretation.
God put you here to help people clarify and understand. :slight_smile:
Thanks for asking though because the question alone caused me to look deeper into the topic.

May God bless you and yours.

This makes more sense now. :slight_smile:
I am so glad for everyone’s input as I get caught up in these “philosophical dilemmas” and unlike the usual turn, when things are clarified for me, I can (by God’s grace) let go of the argument that is keeping me down.

Thanks and God bless.

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