Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mortal Sins

Today was kind of a failure for me. Not the the entire morning or the afternoon...but around now. I'll post later on how my first Ash Wednesday went, but for now my heart is burdened & needs some answers.

I've been so low energy from fasting today that I have been falling asleep a lot...and I have had some completely disturbing dreams. I was so monstrous in these dreams I cannot even explain...sinning in almost every way possible. When I woke up relief washed over me when I realized it was just a dream. I've also been trying to control my thoughts recently which has been a spiritual battle ground and it's like I am living in a world of sin all in my mind and subconscious. Then tonight I just caved & sinned...completely deliberate. I knew it was wrong & I still went through with it. And as a result I am so unbelievably ashamed.

I have a test tomorrow and should be studying like crazy, but I cannot get my mind off how weak I was spiritually and how I let myself intentionally sin against God on a HOLY DAY! It's been all around a bad day & a day of testing (which I'll explain tomorrow in my Ash Wednesday post) and I thought I deserved a "break" (in my twisted mentality at the time). God forgives right?

Well apparently not in the RCC.
I went online and searched mortal sins and the list was endless. I am guilty of probably a good lot of them and apparently if you die without confessing these sins to a priest, you do not go to heaven. What the heck? What happens to asking for forgiveness & being forgiven? I am all for the sacrament of reconciliation, but if I were to die tomorrow, unable to get to a priest to forgive my sin from today...and the slew from the past...I would go to hell?

I'm really struggling with this. What are your takes on it?
Blessings always,
your 100% human, sinner at heart,


caraboska said...

This is one thing that Protestants are... protesting against. You are quite right in questioning whether there is a need to see a priest. There is indeed - we have One High Priest, and it is Him alone we need to see. There is one (and only one) verse in the New Testament that talks about confessing sins to other people - and it can only mean 'confess your sins to a priest' if a person REALLY WANTS it to mean that. The fact of the matter is that this concept is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Only in tradition.

At the risk of sounding like a troll, this idea of confession to and absolution from a priest (as required for salvation) sounds like putting a mere man in the place of God. It also gives the priests an awful lot of control over other people's spiritual lives - which is very nice except that Jesus forbade us to have any control-based relationships whatsoever.

Again, that is what it is about: control by those who make themselves out to be 'spiritual authorities' over those whom they make out to be 'under them' - a control which is forbidden in Scripture (see Matthew 20:25-28) and to which no Christian should submit, at the risk of violating the first of the Ten Commandments: I am the LORD your God; you shall have no other gods apart from Me.

April said...

I've researched teachings on Reconciliation and sin as well, and I'm thinking what you found was some of the uber-conservative stuff. As far as I can tell from the Catechism and what priests have explained to me, in confession, a priest doesn't do the forgiving. He just acknowledges that God has forgiven you. Therefore, wouldn't it make sense that God has forgiven you the instant that you asked God's forgiveness? The priest is there to council and acknowledge that forgiveness. So, I'd say that the idea one might go to hell just because they haven't seen a priest to confess something doesn't make sense. God works through people, yes, but he doesn't need priests to save people. Therefore, if you ask Jesus to save you and wash you clean, you'll find yourself in heaven. Just think about people who are the only a Christian in a sea of unbelievers. What would they do? So, the going to hell for not confessing thing is in my opinion twisting the truth.
God will take care of you! Trust in Jesus!

deltaflute said...

I agree with April. I view all the Sacraments as being God's and God decides. Man doesn't decide who goes to heaven or not. If babies who die before they are baptized can go to heaven, according to the RCC, then a person who is remorseful can also go to heaven. Priests are there to help you not hurt you. Penance is not meant as a punishment. Confession is in the Bible. And if you want all the details, I've written about it once before in the comments section of the blog.

Don't let sin get to you. No one is perfect. If you let your heart become so heavy with grief over sin, you will discover that you are missing the ways that God can use you. Look at St. Augustine, his mother St. Monica prayed for his conversion for a long time. He was a woman chaser and a big time partyer. God still used him. BTW on the wall of his room he had written, "Here we do not speak evil of anyone." And that is a good mantra to follow.

Anonymous said...

My take is probably the same as the previous three, but I'm just going to be short and logical about it. (Not to say that the previous three comments were NOT logical!)

The point of confessing to a priest in Catholicism, as I understand it, is so they can pass those confessions on to God. What would prevent you from confessing directly to God Himself? You don't have to confess to a priest to go to heaven; remember, Christ is our mediator.

However, I do believe that there are times when spiritual accountability is key. But in times like those, if you feel they apply to any of the sins you are being convicted of right now, I would search out a mature Christian(s) to help keep you accountable. And just know that sometimes, those mature Christians are not always found in the most prominent leadership positions, so make sure if you do seek out a priest in that instance, that that priest will be able and willing to give you godly advice and point you directly to Scripture. That's true in both the Catholic and Protestant sects.

That's not as short as I wanted it to be, but I hope it helps you just the same. :]

Anonymous said...

From a Catholic perspective, I've struggled a bit with this doctrine, but ultimately decided to try and understand what I can and have faith that God wouldn't let his Church be led astray on something so important.

The way I learned it, confession isn't talking to a priest to pass it on to God, or confessing to the priest. God uses the priest as a human connection to demonstrate his forgiveness through. When you go to confession, you are talking straight to God. God Himself forgives you, not the priest.

Yes, you can confess veniel sins directly to God without confession, but the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as a sacrament, gives actual graces. So it's a good thing, but not mandatory for venial.

Mortal sin requires three things: something hugely morally wrong, full knowledge that it is so terribly wrong, and full consent to do it anyway. If any of these requirements isn't met, it's not a mortal sin. Mortal sin damages our relationship with God in a large way, the sacrament of penance restores that relationship and heals one.

As to dying and going to hell; that's where I've had trouble. I have heard it said that if you die with unconfessed mortal sins, you go to hell. I would interpret that to mean that because of the enormity of the rift they cause in our relationship, refusing to confess them could certainly lead to hell. On the other hand, we have a merciful and loving God. Reconciling those two concepts is hard. I think that we have to have faith that God knows our hearts. He knows our intentions, and if a person intended to go to confession and be restored to full communion, I have to believe that that would make a difference to Him. He doesn't go around damning people because He likes it; He wants everyone to make it to heaven.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I got so long-winded. I've struggled a lot with this, too, and trying to explain to someone else usually ends up me explaining to me. I pray you find peace.

R.A.~ said...

thank you all for your responses. I'll be praying on this matter much more!