Friday, January 28, 2011

Venial Baobabs

Did you ever read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry? As I struggled to dig up the stubborn weeds in my yard I thought about that book. It's one of my favorites. Baobabs grow on the Little Prince's tiny planet and he must pull them up before they grow into giant trees and destroy the structural integrity of his world.

While I wrestled with a huge root, I chided myself for not pulling the thing before it grew so big and I thought of baobabs.

Venial sins are sometimes likes that. If you ignore them, they multiply and grow into mortal sins. Before you know it, your precious world is full of cracks. Fortunately God gave us tools to deal with such pests.

Whoa... I don't want to lose anybody. What's a venial sin? What's a mortal sin?

Mortal Sin is:
- Grave matter, committed with full knowledge, committed deliberately

Think about the Good ol' Ten Commandments. That's a super place to begin your examination of conscience.  

Mortal sin must be confessed because it kills the life- the grace you received at baptism- within you. You need Reconciliation to recover from mortal sin. Check out this link to on some quotes from early Christians on the subject.

I think this one from Tertullian bops the nail on the head for me.
"[Regarding confession, some] flee from this work as being an exposure of themselves, or they put it off from day to day. I presume they are more mindful of modesty than of salvation, like those who contract a disease in the more shameful parts of the body and shun making themselves known to the physicians; and thus they perish along with their own bashfulness" (Repentance 10:1 [A.D. 203]).

But back to Venial Sins~

They are not as serious as mortal sins, or they are sins committed without full knowledge, or else committed without full consent. They won't kill the Grace within you. BUT, they will weaken your spiritual vitality and make you more likely to sin again and maybe more seriously. You may confess them directly to God in prayer. Be mindful that they don't pile up, multiply, GROW LIKE A BAOBAB.

One example, is a passing angry thought. But if you invite that thought to stick around for coffee and donuts, it can become a mortal sin. Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment." Matt 5:21

Check out this link at About halfway down the page there are examples of venial sins.

Naturally every Catholic wants to cleanse his or her soul of mortal sins to please God and go to Heaven. But we should all pluck out the venial ones as well. It's healthy and wise for our own sakes, it pleases God, and it's just good soul upkeep.


  1. Excellent post! Confession is the great healer.

  2. Thanks so much, Teresa. :)
    Yes, you're sooo right!

  3. And one thing I failed to mention- people can bring their venial sins to Confession, not just mortal sins. In fact, I find if I am repeating the same venial sins over and over, it helps break the cycle if I take them to confession.