dvent is the time of our spiritual preparation to celebrate the birth of our Savior. The best way to make spiritual progress is through continued conversion. This simply means a turning around. Turning away from sin to God. Without this there is no spiritual life. We need Confession, also called Reconciliation. In fact, we need frequent Confession. What person, say an athlete, does not continually examine his performance? Isn't our journey to Heaven immeasurably more important than achieving a victory in a stadium or any other kind of worldly success?
I would like to quote from a book of spiritual reflections, Conversations with God:
Sins involve a double disorder. First of all they are an offense against God. They make the soul his enemy. In the case of mortal sin the soul makes a radical choice contrary to its final end. Mortal sin merits eternal separation from God. For the forgiveness of mortal sins committed after Baptism we must have recourse to the sacrament of Confession.
In addition to the loss of friendship with God, sin also damages the sinner himself. It hampers ones personal growth and that of the community of the faithful. "For sin has diminished man, blocking his path to fulfillment."1 "A soul that lowers itself through sin drags down with itself the Church and, in some way, the whole world."2 The soul suffers from the consequences if sin even after receiving sacramental absolution. Besides his particular penance, the sinner needs to make reparation in his life through good works and indulgences.
Fernandez, Francis, Conversations with God vol. V. p. 405. Scepter Publishers, London, 1991
1 Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 13.2 Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 2 Dec 1984, 16
Ordinarily, it is essential to receive sacramental absolution of mortal sins in order to have the Divine life within us. We need to confess all mortal sins. Moreover, a person who has mortal sins and has not gone to Confession, may not receive Holy Communion. Doing so, would incur another mortal sin, that of sacrilege.
Venial sins are slight offenses against God. Although they are not serious, we should not tolerate them because they still offend God Whom we love. An enormous number of venial sins cannot equal nor amount to one mortal sin. These sins can be forgiven through prayer, the Holy Mass especially, and through good works. Nevertheless, going to Confession with only these sins is an excellent practice because we receive the grace of this sacrament.
If we are not already frequenters of this great sacrament of mercy, hopefully we will begin to be so during this Advent.