At a youth group retreat this past weekend, I had a teen ask me, a volunteer leader, the following question: “Because when we are in the state of mortal sin, we are separated from God until we go to Confession, should we bother praying before we can get to confession? I mean, we can’t be reunited with Him until we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” I wasn’t quite sure how to answer. Of course, my gut reaction is, “Of COURSE you shouldn’t stop praying!” but I’m not sure how to explain the WHY to her. Any ideas?
I think a distinction would have to be made in what is meant by a “separation from God.” Obviously the separation from God that is effected by mortal sin is not the same sort of separation from God that occurs in, God forbid, Hell.
I would explain that when we say that sin separates us from God, we mean that it separates from participating in the life of God, which is to say “grace”. This separation would only be made worse by neglecting the duty to pray. (In fact, perhaps it would be a sin against hope to assume that God has forsaken you in your sin.)
Yes, and if the case is you cannot get to sacramental reconciliation for days on end and you are repentant and remorseful of your sin, keep your mind and heart in profound contrition, God is merciful. Peace, Carlan
Our very disposition of heart is a prayer that pleases God, and that disposition would include an intention to confess and a knowledge of our abject unworthiness. (Recall the parable of The Prodigal Son – accepted before he even got to his destination). So although we are suspended from sharing fully in the divine life (the definition of state of grace), we are not suspended from communicating with Him and preparing ourselves to receive the maximum from the sacrament. The greater our honest self-knowledge, the more pleasing our prayer, even before Confession. And most of us need, or can benefit from, continued prayer before Confession, which will clear our internal vision to reveal our sins & selfish motivations and provide courage to share that revelation. And even if we happen to have all that, our prayers before Confession can then center on deep sorrow and prayer of reparation for those we may have hurt in our sin.
So if your mind is clear and your soul is brave, then before Confession you can pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, you can pray the Psalms (especially the Psalms of repentance), you can even attend adoration if that precedes Confession, as well as the rosary, etc. I find Mary to be a great help before Confession.