Living Without Sin

I’m not sure if this subject has been discussed here or not but I thought I would throw it out for a general discussion.

My question: Is it possible to live WITHOUT ever committing a sin?

About 5 years ago I set out to see if that was possible (at least for me). Of course, I knew I would need help so I made some major changes in my life. For instance, I increased the frequency of attending Mass and Communion, not only on the weekend but as many times in the week as possible. I also started praying the Rosary everyday (sometimes several times a day). In addition, I composed a personal “forgiveness” prayer and say that in combination with an Act of Contrition 3 times a day (morning, noon and night). I also stated following the First Friday Devotions. I’ve got pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Mother and various Saints posted all over my apartment but yet I just can’t seem to go completely without sin. Sometimes I have a tendency to repeat the same sins over and over again even though I humbly ask God (everyday) to keep me away from those sins so after doing all this for 5 years I have come to the conclusion it is impossible to live without sinning. From my understanding the only persons to ever live on earth that never sinned were Jesus and His Blessed Mother but I’m sure she had “special” help from her Son (who is God).

I should also point out that although I have not accomplished my goal, I will still keep trying.

Thanks and May God be with all of you!!


I see what appear to be two ways to avoid personal sin.

  1. Being born mentally handicapped or becoming so by accident or illness before the age of reason.
  2. Dieing before the age of reason.

Apart from that - I see no way to completely avoid venial sins since any minor human act or omission of impatience, disrespect, uncharitable or selfish thoughts, words or deeds becomes a sin.


I have thought about it some more and need to amend my prior statements. I see no way to avoid personal sin completely. Since even if one is under the age of consent or has a lack of knowledge that a thing is a sin - that does not change the fact that the behavior is offensive to God. It only mitigates the culpability.


At the beginning of Mass we proclaim"I confess to you,Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters,that I have sinned through my own fault,in my thoughts and in my words,in what I have done ,and in what have failed to do…"

That’s probably the hardest part for me…(what I have failed to do)
I grew up in a time when religion seemed like a big long list of DON’Ts.don’t swear,don’t steal,don’t lie,don’t cheat,don’t don’t don’t!!..What about all the DOs?..Is it possible to live a life of not just avoiding wrong but also embracing the right,the correct?How many times did I keep my mouth shut when I should have spoken out?Or any number of occasions that I failed TO… DO…

I’d have to agree with you. But what also comes to mind is what are you considering a sin, and is it really a ‘‘sin’’ according to your church, or are you trying to live a life like the saints when you are clearly not called to do so? And in trying to do so, are you missing out on what might actually be your ‘‘calling’’ on this earth.

Can you explain how you arrived at the assertion that we are not called to live like the saints? This is in direct contradiction to what the Church tells us both in teaching and in scripture. We are called to be holy as our God is also holy. We may not be perfect but we can try our best.


I’d agree with the general consensus that it is pretty much impossible to be without personal sin in life. Our Lady managed it, but she had to be Immaculately Conceived in order to do so!

It IS, however, entirely possible to be without mortal sin, which should be the first aim of all of us.

As to never being entirely free of venial sin, it should never be a source of discouragement - we should simply use it as motivation to a) frequent the sacrament of Confession as well as Holy Communion, and b) learn about and gain indulgences (which are partial or total remissions of our punishment in Purgatory).

The thing about some of us not being meant to be saints - well, different Saints had different spiritualities and different ways of organising their spiritual life. On the matter of confession and Communion, for example, you have St Joan of Arc who both confessed and communed only once a year. You have St Pio advocating monthly to weekly confession, which is now the general rule of thumb, and JP2 and Mother Teresa who went MORE than once a week, and St Pius X who advocated daily Communion where possible. Whose example to follow? The answer is - you can choose! Find what works for you!

Hello Marcus. I apologize beforehand, because I am going to cause a ripple in your pond. We are not only culpable for the offensives we commit, but also for sins of ommission. And sometimes with those, we have those “Should/as”. Now how could ANYONE other than a Saint overcome all that?:eek:

You mentioned something in your reply about the sin of omission. I have always wondered about that and although I have never been to confession solely for the purpose of confessing sins of omission. There are probably dozens of instances of omission so how does one confess sins of omission in the confessional? Would it be appropriate to group the sins of omission into one big category without breaking them down?


Christ did it while he walked the Earth, so it is indeed possible.

There is likewise no evidence to believe the Blessed Virgin Mary sinned, and good reason to believe she did not (Church tradition).

We of course must live without sin ourselves, which is why the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation was created by Christ for us.

Finally, the Apostles clearly thought it was possible, having devoted considerable space in their epistles to urge us to live sinless lives.

Referring to a Missal may help. I use the 1962 missal which is quite thorough in the examination of conscience.

Yes, that is true, but you have to remember that Jesus is God so it was very easy for Him to be sinless (in fact I have heard it said many times on this forum that it is impossible for God to sin). As far as the Blessed Mother is concerned, I to believe that she lived without ever sinning but she also probably received special graces from her Divine Son to keep her sinless.

I have heard that Pope John Paul II went to confession daily and Mother Teresa was reported to go to confession every other day. I consider those two people to be some of the holiest people in modern times and yet with their frequent confession schedule one has to really wonder that it just might be impossible. Even the Apostles were sinners and they were actual followers of Christ in His own time.


I don’t believe it was any easier for Christ to remain sinless than for any of us in that we all have to deal with temptation. Indeed, Christ’s temptations were if anything greater than our own, since to whom was he to be accountable?

Jesus and Mary did not suffer from the deformation of original sin, so in that sense they were less subject to concupiscence, which one suspects only made the Devil want to tempt them all the more.

I have heard that Pope John Paul II went to confession daily and Mother Teresa was reported to go to confession every other day. I consider those two people to be some of the holiest people in modern times and yet with their frequent confession schedule one has to really wonder that it just might be impossible. Even the Apostles were sinners and they were actual followers of Christ in His own time.


As Christ told us, “Be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect.”

Difficult and impossible are two different things, as Olympic athletes keep demonstrating in the world of sport. The one thing which is crystal clear is that we will never succeed if we do not make the effort.

Um, ok I’ll try. What I mean was, if god was calling this man to live like a saint, wouldn’t he have given him some sign, some sense of a calling, so extra graces or support and some clear direction.
If that is not the case, and he is feeling it is an uphill struggle, then maybe that is not what he is supposed to be doing, but something else.
For example, men go and lock themselves away in a monks house. That must take some doing, to lock themselves away from the whole world - but they manage it, because the had a calling to do this, and were given the strength to do it, presumably, though Im not saying it cant and wont be and isnt a struggle. But they can overcome the struggle because it is WHAT they are supposed to be doing.
So in that sense maybe the OP isnt being called to live like a saint - but rather a normal human being, doing a good job in society.

On a side note - I have to say the image of an appartment full of holy pictures kinda creeped me out :eek: :smiley:

Well it turns out that even those who tried to cloister themselves to avoid sin ended up still sinning - in different manners perhaps. Turing completely inward is a form of selfishness that can deny an opportunity for charity to our fellow man. I am not saying its impossible though since prayer for our neighbor is a valid work of charity too. I am just saying that even within strict religious orders where they cloister themselves “stuff happens” - petty jealousies, sloth, narcissism, disordered sexuality, scrupulosity etc.

I had to smile when I heard you say "the image of an apartment full of holy pictures kinda creeped me out". Do you get burning sensations when somone sprinkles holy water on you or a person wearing a blessed sacramental walks close to you?

If so - don’t come knocking on my door since every room has a blessed crucifix or holy image and each room, window and door is blessed with holy water.


After I wrote the post, I started thinking about these sins of omission more carefully. Unless we are people who are very aware of our own actions in relationship to others, I think most of the time we acknowledge our omitted acts AFTER the fact. But if, in fact, we KNOW we should do something and don’t, then I would call that a sin of omission. These “sins”, unless one is scrupulous, probably don’t happen that often, but just like other sins, if there is one that you really, really, feel remorse about, then we should discuss it with a priest in the confessional. You could also say in a daily contrition, "please forgive my sins of omission of which I am not aware. But then I think we must be aware of what we are omitting, otherwise it wouldn’t be a sin. We just need to try to be more and more conscious of what we do and don’t do. :thumbsup: Hope that helped.

Marcus, the simple answer to your question is that it is impossible for you to live without sinning. Get a copy of the Catechism and read the sections on Sin and Virtue and this should help you understand why. As someone else has posted, the inheritance of original sin is a propensity to commit sin.

I applaud you whole-heartedly for trying to live as good and prayerful a life as possible, but do not set yourself up for unrealistic expectations. It can lead you into problems such as scrupulosity if you are not careful.

It sounds to me as though what you need is a spiritual director, and you should find a priest in your community who is willing to help you with this. Good luck!


or a person wearing a blessed sacramental walks close to you?


:eek: Is this a bad thing :eek:

:stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

“Do you get burning sensations when somone sprinkles holy water on you or a person wearing a blessed sacramental walks close to you?”

Nahhh James, the above just happens to vampires.:rotfl: :rotfl:

Thanks Teflon for your contribution. It is not only possible to live without sin: we are actually commanded to live without sin:eek: We have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, whose mission was to destroy the works of the devil ( including sinfulness) as we read in 1Jn 3:8. So we are required to lead holy lives ( Lev 11:44, 1Pet 1:15-16 ). If it were impossible for man to lead a sinless life, then purgatory would have been a neccesity to all saints except Mary!
I do agree that it is not easy to lead a sinless life, but it is possible:D

Laudetur Iesus Christus!

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