Modern society has lost its sense of sin and its sense of sorrow for sin. As a follower of Jesus, I need to make an effort to recognize sin in my daily actions, words, and omissions. I need to be sorry for my sins, to root them out of my life, to confess them, and to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness. Lives of the saints prove that a person who grows in holiness and joyfulness has a stronger sense of sin and of sorrow for sin. The process of examining one’s conscience should always be done without anxiety and with trust in God’s infinite mercy and the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Sin is the deliberate choice of something opposed to God’s law of love in one’s thoughts, words, or deeds. The Church teaches that there are two kinds of sin: mortal and venial. Mortal sin (also called serious or grave sin) is a deliberate and free choice of some action, words, or thought known to be seriously wrong. Such sin destroys the life of grace in the person. Three conditions must be met for a sin to be mortal: 1) serious matter, 2) sufficient reflection, and 3) full consent of the will. First, the thing done must be something serious by way of thought, word, or action. Second, you must have sufficient understanding and give the matter enough thought to realize it is seriously wrong. Third, you must have sufficient freedom of the will and give your full consent. Therefore, you cannot commit a mortal sin if the matter is not serious, if you did not know what you were doing (unless you were deliberately drunk), or if you did not act with full freedom (unless you deliberately discarded your freedom by using mind-altering drugs, including too much alcohol). Venial sin is a minor offense against God that hurts the life of grace in the person but does not destroy it. Sometimes venial sin occurs when the matter is serious, as in mortal sin, but one or both of the other conditions for mortal sin are absent. For example, you might be slower than you should be in getting rid of certain temptations. If you are truly not certain, you can give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Always make a good act of contrition. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the ordinary way to have our sins forgiven. It is a powerful help to getting rid of weaknesses, growing in holiness, and leading a balanced life. The serious Catholic celebrates it regularly and whenever the need is felt in order to receive all the graces that the Lord wants to give. Monthly confession is a healthy and effective means to grow closer to Christ and to become more joyful and peaceful in spirit. Sometimes the mere thought of your monthly confession can ward off temptation. Start this practice, maintain it, and you will be glad you did.