Level 4 B

Level 4b, "State of Grace," is a conceptual state of being on Level 4, or on higher levels, where one continually strives to love God with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength, enjoying the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as they practice the Seven Cardinal Virtues:
  • Chastity
  • Temperance
  • Charity
  • Diligence
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Humility
Falling from a state of grace would involve the opposite of these Seven Virtues, also known as the Seven Cardinal Vices or Sins, which are:
  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride

There are many churches that point the way towards Him. The best ones are those that are most effective in helping a person worship Him in spirit and truth, living in a state of grace out of love for Him. However, the features one church offers may be more important to someone at a given time in their life. These interests might include opportunties to participate in various ministries, a strong social community and sound doctrine. Similarly, one may need to find a strong social community before they're firmly placed on the narrow path while another may need to find a stronger sense of personal devotion.

Whatever the case, when one falls short, depending on where they are in their understanding of Him, and correspondingly, their knowledge of the ways in which they may formally reconcile their relationship, as well as the extent and nature of the fall, they may enter back into a state of grace by:

1.* When the sin is venial, detesting the sin and one of the following:
- praying for forgiveness, e.g. "...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive the trespasses of others..."
- the sprinkling of holy water,
- receiving a bishop's blessing or sacramental anointing
- saying a prayer, e.g. The Confiteor or Act of Contrition in a dedicated church.

2. When the sin is venial or mortal, making a formal confession to a Spiritual Father (usually a parish priest or monastic) or, in some Eastern Orthodox Catholic Churches, confession in a private area before a Sacred Icon, e.g. the Lord Jesus in the Byzantine tradition or the Cross and the Gospel in the Russian tradition.

Making a confession to a Spiritual Father is highly recommended, even when the sin is only venial. In this way, special graces are obtained through the Spiritual Father's intercession and through the individual's increased sense of accountability for the transgression.

"Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However, venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness." 1 --CCC 1863

"While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call "light": if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession." 2

Those who remain in a state of grace sometimes experience miracles and/or have miracles attributed to them. For examples of some of these men and women, consider visiting the site, "Miracles of the Saints."

For information on what constitutes a mortal sin, visit this site. For the history behind mortal sin, visit this one.

For more information on the Catholic tradition of confession, consider the first and second link of the 2nd example above, as well as the resources found on this site and this one. You may also appreciate the following YouTube video.

* In accordance with Catholic tradition, only venial sins may be forgiven in this manner --please see the full explanation concerning what constitutes a sufficiently implied infusion of grace for the forgiveness of venial sins, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas.