How to Understand Sin: What is the Difference between Mortal and Venial Sin?

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October 4, 2017
Saint of the Day for October 5: St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (August 25, 1905 – October 5, 1938)
October 5, 2017

By Fr. Chris Pietraszko, Courageous Priest

Although venial sin is lite, we ought to not treat any sin lightly. If we understand sin beyond a moral philosophy we may rather understand it from the point of view of a relationship. Venial sins are akin to the thorns piercing the sacred head of our Lord, while mortal sins are the nails that crucify and kill our Lord. While the thorns cause less damage that is not mortal, they arise from the same spirit that wants to put an end to our Lord. They hurt and betray Him, and they ultimately lead to a lack of reverence towards Christ that snowballs into His own murder.

Today some think that being zealous about avoiding venial sin is a form of scruples. Only when we inflate venial as mortal or good acts as sinful ones, does this apply. But to avoid offending God for that sake alone, is praiseworthy.

Mortal sin is to kill the life of grace which is nothing more than the very life of Christ within us. Venial therefore always leads to mortal sin, in that it’s spirit generates a hatred for Christ that will grow into banishing Him from our own sanctification.

In this, let us regret our thorns we press into His head, by also recognizing the mercy that pours out from His head for our sake.