Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene continues his teaching on the critical aspects of the interior life of the Holy Spirit, which we are all called to live…our only purpose in existing. I have paraphrased some of his insights while retaining the meaning:
“Venial sin, like mortal sin, is counter to God‘s will, although with less serious deviation. While it does not destroy Charity in our soul, it is opposed to Charity and therefore diminishes fervor and vigor and hinders the growth of Charity. This is the disastrous effect of deliberate venial sin committed with the realization that it is displeasing to God.
“Once venial sense of this kind become habitual, it decreases our tendency toward God, and increases our leaning toward self satisfaction and other creatures. Thus, little by little, the soul loses its fervor and sense of sin and falls into tepidness, which is characterized by a certain indifference to venial sin. This puts the soul in danger of offending God in serious matters also. In this sense, venial sin maybe compared to a disease of insidious danger, a kind of spiritual tuberculosis, which undermines the soul slowly but fatally. It is not unusual to meet souls who having at first given themselves to God with sincere fervor, then let themselves fall into continual carelessness, indifference, voluntary omissions and laziness, because they have given into selfishness and pursued their own comfort. They become incapable of making the generous efforts required to advance on the way they have started. Their spiritual life is reduced to a kind of lethargy, which is not yet death, but which has none of the freshness and vigor of a strong, healthy life. It lacks the fervor of Charity, because of deliberate concessions to venial sin.”
To help us be constantly on guard against such thinking, Saint Teresa of Avila declares: “Always be fearful if you do not feel sorry for the faults you commit, for even venial sin should fill you with sorrow to the very depths of your soul…For the love of God, take care not to commit any deliberate venial sin, even the smallest…And can anything be small if it offends God?”