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88. Recurrence of Sins Forgiven

1. A sin forgiven is forgiven. A man may, indeed, commit anothersin like the one forgiven, but he does not fall back intoforgiven sin. It is not possible for the stain of past sins, andthe debt of punishment incurred by them, to return upon theforgiven sinner. A sin may be worse because of like sins previouslyforgiven. But the past sins themselves, once pardoned, do notreturn.

2. Only in the sense that a man who is pardoned returns tosins like those forgiven, and thereby shows base ingratitude to theforgiving God, is it said that forgiven sins return upon thesinner.

3. Therefore, if a man has obtained forgiveness of mortalsins, and later commits others, his ingratitude does not bring backupon him the debt of punishment due to all past mortal sins. Still,there must be some proportion in this business. The more frequentand grievous one's past mortal sins have been, the greater isthe debt of punishment incurred by subsequent mortal sin.

4. We must not say that the ingratitude of a forgivensinner who commits mortal sins anew, is a special mortal sin initself. This ingratitude is regularly a circumstance only of thenew mortal sin which the offender commits. If, however, therelapsing sinner has an actual contempt of God and the favor hereceived in his earlier pardon, his ingratitude is a specialsin.

"Let persons in the world sanctify themselves in their own houses, for neither the court, professions, or labour, are any hindrance to the service of God."
St Philip Neri

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"It is well to choose some one good devotion, and to stick to it, and never to abandon it."
St Philip Neri

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