Looking for books on sin. I’m mostly interested in understanding the different stages that a person commits a sin and how the church defines those stages. Like internal thoughts that turn into intentionality and lastly action in commuting the sin physically. Does intentionality cause the same level of damage to our relationship with God (Mt 5:28)?
I don’t know of any book but the Summa by St. Thomas tackles a lot about sin. This is worth a read.You can start here:
You can do more keyword searches using St. Thomas, sin.
Hope that helps. God bless.
“The beginning of all temptations to evil is instability of temper and want of trust in God; for even as a ship without a helm is tossed about by the waves, so is a man who is careless and infirm of purpose tempted, now on this side, now on that. As fire testeth iron, so doth temptation the upright man. Oftentimes we know not what strength we have; but temptation revealeth to us what we are. Nevertheless, we must watch, especially in the beginnings of temptation; for then is the foe the more easily mastered, when he is not suffered to enter within the mind, but is met outside the door as soon as he hath knocked. Wherefore one saith, Check the beginnings; once thou might’st have cured, But now ’tis past thy skill, too long hath it endured. For first cometh to the mind the simple suggestion, then the strong imagination, afterwards pleasure, evil affection, assent. And so little by little the enemy entereth in altogether, because he was not resisted at the beginning. And the longer a man delayeth his resistance, the weaker he groweth, and the stronger groweth the enemy against him.”
Taken from the Imitation of Christ,CHAPTER XIII Of resisting temptation
I hope this is helpful.
To answer your question, if you receive an evil thought but do not ascent to it, you are not guilty of sin.
I don’t understand. So coveting in the mind or lusting after another woman with your eyes is not a sin unless you steal or commit adultery? That doesn’t seem right.
To covet or to lust is a sin. If the mind receives an evil suggestion it is not a sin, until your heart ascents to it, as soon as you derive pleasure from the evil thought you become guilty of either venial or mortal sin depending on the circumstances. We can avoid ascenting to an evil thought: lusting for example, by immediately trying to get the bad images out of our mind, or by saying prayers to be delivered from the evil images.