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“Ask a Priest: Can It Get Worse If I Committed a Mortal Sin Already?”
Q: When I commit a mortal sin I fall into this ideology that “Well, I’m already in mortal sin, how can it get any worse?”, and use this to become despondent. Is this true — can mortal sin be made worse by continuing it after the initial incident? I hate this ideology and don’t understand why I fall into it. What should one do when in mortal sin before Saturday confession? Are spiritual practices such as the Liturgy of the Hours or the rosary of any use when someone is in the state of mortal sin? I feel as though I am falling into a pattern of every week, falling prey to these sins, and I’d like to learn how to best conquer them. Nothing I’ve tried works for very long. God bless. – G.E.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: What you describe is a common occurrence. It’s more of a temptation than an ideology. A person falls into mortal sin and then quickly grows despondent and piles on other mortal sins. This makes a bad situation worse.
Despondency can be one of the devil’s tricks. He whispers to someone before a fall, “Go ahead, do it. It’s no big deal. You’re a nice guy. Everyone does it.”
Then, after the fall, the devil is there to whisper, “You are a loser. Do you think you should be forgiven? No use trying to stop sinning — you’re already over the edge.”
The best response would be good to get to confession as soon as possible, before the despondency grows. Discouragement is a slippery slope you want to avoid.
If you can’t make it to confession, at least make a perfect act of contrition (that is, have sorrow for sin, based on love of God).
In the meantime, keep up the prayers. The merit for them will kick in once you are back in a state of grace.
To battle your sins, you might consider compiling a program of life, a systematic way to tackle your vices and work on the virtues.
To that end you might find the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwHfPpXbN5U helpful.
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