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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.

"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"
St Augustine

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"Whoever wants to stand alone without the support of a master and guide will be like the tree that stands alone in a field without a proprietor. No matter how much the tree bears, passers-by will pick the fruit before it ripens. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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