Prayer, Sin, and Faith…

… Someone once told me that when we are in a state of mortal sin God doesn’t hear our prayers. Our sinful actions have severed our relationship with Christ and our prayers fall on deaf ears or some other such bleakness. I had always been a bit suspicious of this bit of information; how else do sinners experience conversation? I think my entire early twenties was a perpetual state of moral sin and debauchery yet there I was on my knees praying fervently for help one evening and I know He heard me. My Catholic faith is proof.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it plainly states that mortal sins turns man’s heart away from God, not the other way around.

[1850] Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it.
[1855] Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God.

I’m sure whoever told me my sin made me dead to God and His love was well meaning but it opened the floodgates for all kinds of spiritual apathy, which ultimately led to more sin, magnified my guilt and self loathing which in turn spiraled into deeper sinfulness.

I mean, I had already fallen and committed a grave sin… what’s one more, right? I think I’ll sleep in instead of go to mass. I don’t need to pray this week, God’s put me on mute. And before you know how it happened, you haven’t been to confession in months and have forgotten how to pray the rosary. True story.

Some of the hardest exercises in spiritual growth have been those times where I’ve forced myself to go to mass knowing I have to sit in the pew like a schmuck while everyone else receives Communion. Or the nights where I prayed the rosary secretly suspecting no one but the bedroom walls heard me. Or the times in adoration when I tried to talk to God and there was that whispering in the back of my head reminding me I was a dirty little sinner and God had shunned me.

You know what… it’s probably a good thing I don’t remember who told me God won’t hear my prayers when I’m in a state of sin because I’d more than likely be cursing them. If I ever do remember I’ll be sure to give them a good shake and say, “If I only prayed when I was free from sin Baby Jesus would never hear from me!”

If you are not in a state of grace remedy it post haste. If you have to wait till Saturday, so be it. While you wait for Saturday pray like you’re being pursued by the Devil himself, because you probably are. Don’t ever let your sin excuse from the act of daily prayer.

Today marks the beginning of the Year of Faith and I have faith, no matter where I am spiritually, God will always here my prayers not matter what.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • robertgwirth

    Great post, Kat, and thank you! Moi, been there done that too.
    Really good to see you back!

  • Barbara B

    Good post, and one that gives food for thought. I was very happy to see your blog come up in my feed this morning.

  • The Catholic Science Geek

    From what I’ve read (and I am not sure if this has the “nihil obstat” seal of approval), God is present EVERYWHERE. This would include Hell as well. However, as you mention, it is the souls in Hell and elsewhere that cannot recognize Him or seek Him while they are in this state of sin. 2-3 weeks ago, I was walking past a church during their confession times and I did not go in because I considered myself to be too unworthy and unclean to go in. For the record, I had slept over in the lab and was just coming home…so I I literally looked (and probably smelled) awful. I realized at the time that it was a lame excuse, and it is excuses like these…so superficial and so trivial…that have caused me to sit out many times when everyone else is receiving. Considering how often I miss out on confession, I am constantly in a state of sin…but I still feel that God loves me and is with me. Why? A nagging conscience. No matter how badly my conscience makes me feel at times, it is a constant reminder that God wants me to turn back to Him…and if he wants this, it is because He loves me even if I deem myself unworthy of His love. Fortunately, my conscience kept bugging me about confession for an entire week and I was finally able to go that following Saturday.

  • The Catholic Science Geek

    Oh, and welcome back!

    • Eugene Edward Yeo

      Indeed, you were missed.

  • Liz

    Someone told me that too! I’m slowly getting over it…very slowly. :p

  • Roki

    It’s true: none of us are ever dead to God – he is the God of the living, after all. But mortal sin is an attempt to die to God, or to make God dead to me. It doesn’t succeed, of course; it only stops me from receiving the life and love that God is giving me.
    God being infinitely free, he doesn’t have to forgive me after I shun him. He chooses to do so, entirely freely, and without reservation. His love is greater than sin, and greater than death. His desire for communion with me is always greater and deeper than my desire for communion with him.
    Thanks for this post!

  • L.

    Glad to see posting againg!
    And some people STILL say that to me — they say that because I am not pro-life, I am completely dead to God, so it’s no use praying about anything else, ever.

  • Warren Jewell

    Jesus Christ made it a point to note that He came to save sinners (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31) not schmooze with the saints – as if! How can we confer with our most merciful Physician if He won’t take our appointment to listen to us? Plus, can any need prayer more than one struggling with his sins? Surely, any of us can turn from Love, but Love is steadfast, constant, merciful, a source of balm until He can heal us into salvation. O, what a God we have, that He always hears, listens – how did He ever conceive to grant us Penance if He wasn’t going to any longer bother with the sounds of our voices, our pleadings, our repentance?

  • Owen

    God doesn’t listen to those in mortal sin. Cracks me up. I can hear Fannery’s birds hooting it up good. Bunch of hooey (and really, I am trying to be nice). However, if that is in fact true then that mansion over yonder will be dead empty but for the Beatific Vision.

    Oh and welcome back. Just when I got used to you not being around (though that was only a few days because I only found out your were done for a while a few days ago).

  • CK

    I don’t want to be the bad guy here, but I think there is some truth to what you were told. I often wondered about the conundrum as a child that sinners are the one who need prayer, so a broken relationship with God seems to leave you trapped, but I had read saints who said those in a state of mortal sin should still pray and go to church, so I assumed something good must happen – it’s not like an omnipotent doesn’t know when sinners pray. I think these links might provide some light:

    I think the story is you obtain ACTUAL graces not SANCTIFYING graces when you pray in a state of mortal sin.

    • Neal Meyer

      Correct, you get actual graces when you pray in a state of mortal sin, but the point is God searches for the sinner who is in mortal sin, God is not deaf to our prayers, he searches us out, hungry for our conversion, thirsting for our soles like Hosea thirsted after Gomer’s love, despite her harlotry. It’s the story of the Prodigal son, the father never stopped loving his son, the son went away and had to come to his senses.

      In fact, if God was not searching us out, we could never be found by him, without actual graces, we would never be drawn to confession and a restoration of communion.

      If you are in a state of mortal sin, never stop petitioning God for actual graces, in fact, if you don’t feel all that repentant, pray for the grace to be more sorry for the sin. “Lord I believe, but help my unbeleif”.

  • Manny

    You’re back! Hope you’re better. I know what you mean about “sitting in the pew like a schmuck while everyone else receives Communion.” LOL, it’s not a good feeling, and I can’t help feeling that people are wondering what possible sin did I commit to prevent me from receiving. I don’t believe God ever not listens to our prayers. He is always calling us. It’s us that have turned down the volume of His voice.

  • Karyn

    Welcome back! I hope your sabbatical was a time of refreshment.
    Thank you for this post. It is very timely for me. I seem to go on a spiritual roller coaster–a time of deepening prayer and feeling close to the Lord, then I commit a certain sin and alienate myself from God. I stop praying. I know God is still there, but I fall into despair, which is worse than the original sin, because it denies God’s love for me and His desire to be in relationship to me. But, then, in reality what I’m doing is acting as if I don’t want to be in relationship to Him. There is just something about what you wrote that has moved some of this “head” knowing to “heart” knowing, you know? Anyway, thanks.

  • Nana Mary

    So pleased to see you back Kat. Have been checking every so often and praying all is well with you. From over in New Zealand, Mary Andersen.