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How often do we commit a venial sin?
Probably more often than we'd like to admit, right?
That said, many of them are what we call "inadvertant" or non-deliberate venial sins.
20th century spiritual writer Fr. Adolphe Tanquerey calls them "faults of surprise".
They're still sins, but more "minor" (if you can call any sin "minor") because you're not consciously choosing to commit each one.
Deliberate venial sins are a different ballgame.
They're committed when you know exactly what you're doing. They're premeditated.
For example, you want to spread that juicy bit of gossip...you know in the moment that it's wrong...but you decide to share it anyway.
We've all been there.
The problem is that these kinds of decisions have some serious consequences.
So in today's Sainthood Snippet, I explain the 3 dangerous effects of deliberate venial sin - and why this is definitely a part of spiritual development we want to focus upon.
God bless and enjoy!
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So let's flesh this out and talk about the effects of advertent or deliberate venial sin. First of all, says Father Tanquerey, deliberate venial sin deprives the soul of many graces. And this might seem like an odd statement since we know that venial sin doesn't destroy or remove sanctifying grace.
But while that's true, realize that deliberate venial sin robs us of new graces. It robs us of opportunities to grow in divine love and the corresponding increase of grace and degree of glory that would've been ours.
Never forget that every moment is an opportunity to grow in grace. Every moment is an opportunity to become more like Christ. And the more we do it, the greater our reward, the closer to God will be for all eternity. When we sin, we crush that opportunity for grace forever.
And that doesn't mean that more opportunities won't come, but the loss of any opportunity for growth in divine life is enormous. It's the loss of a priceless treasure. So deliberate venial sin deprives us of grace.
Alright, the second effect of deliberate venial sin is that it gradually lessens our fervor. When we sin, we cut ourselves off from graces that we need to fuel our ascent to God. We take our eyes off the prize, we lower our gaze and stop aspiring to heights of holiness. We start to rationalize about our ascent and tell ourselves we don't need to be so radical in our spiritual lives and become complacent, settling for a view of God from the valley instead of the peak.
In fact, deliberate venial sin actually makes it impossible to ascend the mountain of God. Why? Because it weighs you down. It's like adding anvils to your backpack. You can't carry that with you to God, even if you want it to. So deliberate venial sin deprives the soul of grace and lessens our fervor.
But there's one more serious effect. It predisposes us to mortal sin. Never forget that sin creates a proclivity to sin. Venial sins grease the skids for mortal sin. They cause us to slide backward toward the abyss - just like everything else, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Venial sin's a gateway drug that leads to mortal sin. And one of the reasons this happens is because you lose the help God offers.
As a rule, says Father Tanquerey, God's graces are reduced in proportion to our infidelities. Every time we commit a venial sin, we're telling God to take a hike. We put up barriers to the movement of grace, which means less of it gets to us. As 16th century Jesuit Father Louis Lallemont declared, venial sin causes blindness, weakness, frequent falls, and acquired habit of insensibility of heart. Because when once an affection to these faults is contracted, we sin without feeling that we are sinning. And think about how dangerous this state of affairs is. Before we committed the sin, we had more grace available and we still sinned. Now we've got less. So how much of a chance do we have? So we have to be very careful and realize how precious grace is as a help to stay away from even venial sin.