Many years ago, a group of coworkers and I were talking about the Catholic Church. The subject came up because one of the guys in the group was getting married. He was a devout Catholic and the wedding was not far off. I remember that a few of us were attending the wedding.
One person in particular wasn’t familiar with the Catholic religion and was eager to find out more about the ceremony. As the future groom spoke, I suddenly heard the words…venial sin. I almost keeled over. “Wait,” I said. “I don’t know whether to genuflect or cross myself. I haven’t heard that since I was in school.” Everyone laughed.
I went to Catholic School for nine years, but I am not what you would call a practicing Catholic. Not today. For me, a richer form of spirituality would be a mix of Eastern philosophy, Christianity, and a healthy dollop of Metaphysics. So I try to meditate each day for at least 10 to 20 minutes, and I still pray. I continue to read books like “Care of the Soul” by Thomas Moore, and other books by other authors.
If I have a strong need for church, I go. Since I don’t know of a nondenominational church in the area, I go to the place that is most familiar. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not. Being in church does bring a certain amount of peace. So I would be content just to sit and meditate in that space. It still feels like home.
My coworker continued to talk about sin. The parties that were not familiar with the religion were having a hard time with the entire concept. “But a sin is a sin,” said one guy. They were clearly confused and my coworker tried his best to clarify things.
As I remember this, I realize that it could have been cleared up in a much simpler way:
Venial Sin – You get a smack on the back of the head. What were you thinking? Say 10 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Marys, and promise to think before you act next time.
Mortal Sin – Baby did a bad bad thing. That’s it, you’re done for. Your goose is cooked…you’re on that highway to hell. Adios muchacho.
And there you have it.