After listening to The Catholic Warthog continue his discussion on the questionable viewing habits of kids in the 80s and 90s (in which he includes a bit of confessional feedback from some dopey guy who blogs about bad movies and Catholicism), I couldn’t help reminiscing just a tad. You know, it wasn’t just the movies we watched that were at times age inappropriate. Generation X also has the dubious honor of ushering in the era of violence filled video games. Oh sure, the head bashing and bullet riddling is much more photorealistic these days, but even with just 8-bits to work with, I’d say the blood flowed quite freely enough back then…
Most of us have probably never really given too much thought to all those thousands of tiny little deaths we’ve experienced over the years inside our digital playgrounds. They just don’t seem to have any consequence. But there is something similar to them in our spiritual lives that can ultimately have a real and everlasting affect.
The wages of sin is death, or so I’ve heard. But venial sins, those wrongful actions and choices that don’t immediately separate us from God, are in a way like the endless fatalities we undergo while gaming. We can commit thousands of venial sins and never really die in the spiritual sense. And because of that, we might be tempted to dismiss them from our minds in the same way we quickly forget the upteenth time we bit the dust while trying to reach Donkey Kong at the top of the screen.
The problem with that is, as the Catechism points out, “Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself… Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin.” And that’s why, “Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit.”
So you can see, while we don’t want to concentrate on every single self fault to the point of scrupulosity, we shouldn’t be so quick to hit replay either the next time a venial sin slips by.