When we commit sin, we offend God and do damage to our souls. If it’s a venial sin, we erode the relationship between God and ourselves. And if it’s a mortal sin, it completely cuts us off from communion with the Lord. But God, in His infinite mercy, has granted us the choice to reopen that communion through the sacrament of Reconciliation. No matter how many times we sin, or how serious the sin is, or how many sins we’ve committed, God will always welcome us back.
When we go to confession, we’re wiping the slate clean. We’re washing out the stains, repairing the damage, and returning to a state of grace. But when we die and are called to stand before God for our particular judgment, will our past sins matter? Will they be brought up again? Will they have any bearing on our eternity if we’ve already confessed them?
That was listener Richard’s question for The Patrick Madrid Show recently, so Patrick walked him through the nuance of past and confessed sins within the context of particular judgment.
Patrick began by explaining that yes, our sins are forgiven when we go to confession, receive absolution, and do penance for them. However, as Patrick understands it, at our particular judgment, we will be shown something like a recap of our lives.
“As I understand the particular judgment, we’re going to see our lives presented to us. And you’re not going to like it and I’m not going to like it, because we’re going to see all the ways in which we offended God, and all the ways in which we committed sin. We’re also going to see all the good things that the Lord, by His grace, enabled us to do,” said Patrick.
He continued, clarifying that our salvation or damnation does not hinge on the net result of weighing our good deeds against our bad ones. It is only by the grace of God that we are permitted into heaven, but we will be judged on how we cooperated with His will and lived our lives according to His plan.
So, in a way, yes. Our sins will be revealed and reviewed at the end of our lives when we are called to stand before God. And it may be unnerving or terrifying to recall all of the ways in which we have sinned. As Patrick said, it’s frightening to think about the things, good and bad, that you’ve done in your life and have to see it all again, especially the things that you’d forgotten about. But you will not be judged by the sins you have confessed. That’s the good news.
If you have lived a life cooperative in the divine plan of Jesus Christ and done your best to receive the sacraments and stay in the state of grace, you will hear the Lord say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:21)
And those who denied Jesus in life, who rejected His plan, will hear, “I do not know where [you] are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!” (Luke 13:27)
Patrick summed his answer up into one statement:
“Yes, all of our sins will be made known to us, but part of the joy and the beauty of those who are going to go to heaven will be that they will know that all of those sins are forgiven and not held against them. But for those who refused God’s grace – refused to repent, refused to turn away from sin, refused to believe – all of their sins are going to be held against them.”
Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am – 11am CT