Monday, April 24

Keeping tabs on sin for confession

I am finding, a whole week into my Catholicism, that I am going to appreciate going to frequent confession. I'm still trying to get a hang of this Mortal/ Venial sin thing and which ones need confessing before taking the sacrament and which ones are ok to keep until confession because they are only venial.

Last week, when I was thinking of my sins, every day 2-3 times a day I would go over my "mental list" of sins so that I would make sure that I wouldn't forget anything when I confessed. When they dealt with bad thoughts, such as anger towards someone, I found I would relive that anger over and over each time I thought of the sin. I just want to get it out of my head. I don't think I need to go to confession multiple times a week, but I definitely need to go to confession every week or two.

I already have one in my head that I keep playing over and thinking, was that a mortal sin? I'll go ahead and say it, because I'm sure the same thing has happened to everyone else. My husband and I were at a clothing store buying a skirt for me. I went to a second clothing store and found a better skirt (it was longer, and I didn't need a slip with it), so I went back to the first store to return the skirt. When I purchased the first skirt, I used a 30% off coupon. But when I got my refund, I got the full amount of the purchase. I feel like I stole that $3 difference. Now, in my defense, they were having serious problems with registers and there were 9 people behind me who had been waiting at least 10-20 minutes to ring up. To bring it to the cashier's attention would have meant having the people behind me wait another 5 minutes until the transaction was rerung, plus it may have taken even longer since the registers were acting so badly.

Also, I lied to them when I returned the skirt. I told them I was unable to find a slip to go with it. I just didn't have the courage to tell them that I found a better skirt at their competitor. I feel guilty about it and feel the need to confess it. But is that a mortal sin or a venial sin? I know the lie was a real lie, because I sat there and tried to figure out what I was going to tell them before I went into the store to justify returing a skirt I had purchased 30 minutes ago.

I have a couple of other small sins similar to the one above that, while not terrible, I'm having to keep a mental tally of, and it's hard to remember them all. I'd rather just confess them and learn from them and get on with my life, you know? And I want to make sure that I don't take the eucharist when I'm not worthy.

I've found multiple web sights that help a bit, but I still worry that I might be too sinful to take the eucharist. I pray for forgiveness and bless myself with holy water but I just don't want to offend God.


At 1:44 AM, Blogger Ma Beck said...

You are an awesome penitent.
That's exactly what you're supposed to do - go over your sins frequently in your head, arrange them, and think about restitution.
Now, regarding the other, I am not your Confessor so I wouldn't dare presume to advise you on
mortal/venial. He knows better than I.
But he will be able to help you through this. You're right to wonder - confess it, ask him, and he will guide you.
Heck, I ask my Confessor things that aren't related to sin - I ask him for advice on everything.
We are all human. We all fail God.
But you are making an honest effort to repent (turn away from sin) and embrace Christ.
That's what counts.
When I'm in doubt, I just say, "I was at a store and returned an item which I had bought on sale and received the
full price as a refund" and let my Confessor do the dirty work.
Mortal, venial. It's no harm to confess them all.
Your confessor will advise you to return any money received in error to the store.
Believe me, all you have to say to the store is, "I got too much change back."
They'll take it.
God bless you! How exciting to have a clean, fresh soul and to be new to the great sacrament of Confession!

At 9:40 AM, Blogger monogodo said...

Not to split hairs, but it was a $9 difference, not $3.

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Petra said...

I don't think you should bother too much about this mortal/venial sin thing. A mortal sin involves 1) grave matter and 2) full consent. Your two stories seem to indicate that there was no full consent in the first and no grave matter in the second case. Still, if you are troubled by it, you may speak to your confessor about a reparation. Otherwise, just confess anything that comes into your head - and feel the cleansing power of Our Lord Jesus Christ....

When you think about all this please also bear in mind that scrupulosity is a great danger to the spiritual life. If you always keep thinking that you are surely offending God by everything you do, then please be vigilant. Scrupulosity means nothing else than that you are basically doubting God's mercy and His ability to judge you according to your designs. (And ultimately, it is also a form of Pride, because the scrupulous person gives way too much importance to his/her sins.) In most of these cases, a mere "I'm sorry, God" or a short prayer will suffice, without having to have recourse to Confession.

And also don't forget that the Eucharist is such an amazing sacrament that it cleanses us from venial sins every time we receive it! Still, regular Confession is a great thing, even when you don't have any grave sins to confess. The soul just becomes dirtier and dirtier in everyday use and needs some cleaning... :-)

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...


You are wise for such a young age. Your father raised you right. :)


Yep, my bad, it was $9. 30% of $30 is $9. That's what I get for trying to do math skills.

At 8:07 PM, Anonymous celticcherokee said...

Yes, I'd say not telling them about the $9 is stealing. The right thing to do is go back to the store and offer the manager the $9.
No, it was not your intent to steal or cheat, so mortal? Probably not-- UNLESS you keep quiet about the money and don't offer to return it. Then you are fully consenting to keeping money that you know is not yours.


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