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Understanding Our Catholic Faith

How We Know God’s Will: Sin


Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31-32


Because of Original Sin, humans have a lifelong tendency to sin, but God's love and mercy are always available to them. When people act in a way that breaks their relationship with God completely, they commit mortal sin. When people act in a way that harms, but does not end their relationship with God or with others, they commit less serious, or venial sin.

The gift of conscience helps people determine whether what they want to do is sinful and whether they have sinned. The development of a Christian conscience comes from an awareness of the demands and values of the Gospel that God expects of all people. With a well-formed conscience and the power of the Holy Spirit, people can discern what is truly right and good.


Eucharistic Prayer IV recalls that throughout the history of salvation, God never abandoned those who had sinned or failed to keep their covenant with him. There is no sin that cannot be touched by God's mercy when sinners turn their hearts back to him. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, people experience and celebrate God's mercy and forgiveness by confessing their sins and pledging to do what is right and good.


  • What feelings or thoughts does the statement "humans have a lifelong tendency to sin..." raise in you?
  • What do you think are the most common venial sins a person at your stage of life commits?
  • What do you remember most about a time when you received someone's forgiveness?


Good and Gracious God,
I am sorry for those times I have turned away from you, and I am grateful for your always-present gifts of forgiveness and reconciliation. Amen.

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Catholic-Parent Know How

An easy-to-use, practical guide helps parents be informed and engaged in the faith formation of their child.


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Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: People of Faith Cards

Children encounter models of our Catholic faith through these beautifully illustrated People of Faith cards. Contains a prayer and brief biography on the back of each card.

$7.95 (25-pack)