5 States of the Soul:
- State of Death — someone is without sanctifying grace (deserving of eternal suffering – hell) because they have separated themselves from God due to their serious disobedience and refusal to follow God’s commands with an unrepentant heart or they are without baptism (we are born into this state). “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”(Romans 6:23).
- State of Grace — someone possesses sanctifying grace (saved; they have been baptized and/or no unforgiven mortal sins are on their soul), yet still needs to be purified (forgiven) of venial sins committed, and punished in purgatory for all sins committed which haven’t been atoned (covered/paid for).
- State of Purity — someone possess sanctifying grace and is also without the stain of any venial sins on their soul (all of their venial sins have been forgiven); yet, they still have the consequences of their sins on their soul (they have not atoned–covered–all of their sins on Earth, and the punishment for their offenses in purgatory still remains).
- State of Sanctity — someone possesses sanctifying grace, is also without the stain of venial sins on their soul and has covered all of their sins (paid the penalty) on Earth by offering up their pain and suffering to the Father, in union with Jesus on the cross, in atonement for their sins, and chooses to deny themselves of enough worldly pleasures and performs enough acts of charity (love), out of love for God, to avoid the punishment in purgatory for their sins through God’s mercy.
- State Full of Grace — or sometimes known as the state of perfection; someone possess all of the qualities of a saint; their soul on Earth is completely full of all of God’s graces. This state is very hard to maintain because of our fallen nature. However, it is possible as the Bible states in Acts 6:8 when Stephen was “full of grace” upon his arrest and he was without the error of sin. His (God’s) grace was enough.
These are the 5 main states of the soul. As a soul travels from one state to another there are several transitional states as well. Someone can fall in and out of all the states throughout their life except when they arrive at the State of Full of Grace. Once a soul achieves perfection, they are perfectly united with Christ and a perfect follower of Him and He will never let them fall “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28-30). Therefore, dying as a purified saint full of grace should be our ultimate goal.
STATE OF DEATH
We are all born into this state because of the sins of Adam and Eve. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Original sin—the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin on all humanity—has made us all spiritually dead (deserving of hell). Amazingly, in God’s great love, through baptism, we are washed clean (made into a new creation), given sanctifying grace, forgiven of our actual sins as well as original sin, and pardoned from the punishment of our sins all through the merits of Jesus. Baptism is salvation for our souls. Therefore, if we were to die in this state it would be a straight ticket to Heaven. What an incredible gift!
Of course once the first sin—whether it’s venial or mortal—is committed after baptism, that ticket straight to heaven is lost since God’s justice will find us accountable for all sins committed after baptism and due punish (payment) will be rendered which will need to be fulfilled in purgatory or on earth (through our suffering, sacrifices and love) before someone can enter into heaven. (cf. Matthew 5:25-26)
Sanctifying grace, which is necessary for salvation, can be maintained, only if venial sins are committed after baptism. However, sanctifying grace can be lost if, after baptism, we break our relationship with God by willingly committing serious (mortal) sin. Then we are put back into a state of spiritual death, where our soul is deserving of the eternal punishments in hell for our disobedience and lack of repentance (sorrow for our sin) to God. Yet, God is continuing to call those, outside of grace, back to His side. We can return to a state of grace only if we confess our mortal sins to a priest, through the sacrament of reconciliation, by asking God for forgiveness with a truly sorrowful heart.* This act of humility and sorrow—through confession—frees us from the guilt of our sins, and allows us to receive the abundant graces God wishes to give us. Every day that we are in a state of mortal sin, we lose grace and closeness with God. If we continue in such a state, all the good gifts God has given us will be lost.
Parents who have their children baptized give them the gift of salvation, they will no longer be in the state of death, through the merits of Jesus. They are bestowed with the Light of Life as well as all the bountiful graces available to them in the sacrament and from being in a state of grace—through their desire for their children to belong to God’s Church. They are literally saints. They have become the “new creation” God says we need to become in order to enter into heaven. However, if parents think that baptism alone is all their children need for salvation, while they go on living a lifestyle outside of the teachings of the Church, then they, and most likely their children, will fall into mortal sin, in which case they will no longer have that salvation (the gift from baptism) if left unrepented. Unless a person chooses to obey God’s commands and repent of their wrongdoing, they will remain in a state of spiritual death due to their defilement of God’s love and the loss of their saving grace they received at baptism. When parents have their children baptized, they need to be reminded of the serious consequences that happen when they don’t follow God’s commands for both them and their children. This reminder should be addressed in a tone of love and concern for their salvation not in a tone of judgement and condemnation since it is love that softens hearts.
Most souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh [sexual sins]. — Our Lady of Fatmia 1917
STATE OF GRACE
Sanctifying grace—having supernatural life—is given to all baptized souls as a gift from God. As in the case of an infant, you don’t even need to understand it to receive the gift. All baptized souls are saved, as long as they remain in a state of grace after their baptism. This state of grace is vital to living a good life, as a person cannot grow in real closeness with Christ without possessing it. Without sanctifying grace, a person is separated from God. However, even when someone is separated from God they can still hear God’s call since God never gives up on them calling them to His side. They can still receive some actual grace—help—in order to assist them in their conversion, as well as to give them the desire to repent of their sins. This grace God gives to His children is given out of love, so they can return to a state of grace (be saved) and grown in holiness and great closeness with their Savior.
[Purgatory] that Prison of Suffering
—St. Maria Faustyna Kowalska
When someone is in a state of grace, a life of true joy and salvation (eternal joy) is theirs, but the punishment for their sins that they chose to commit, after baptism, still exists. However, Purgatory is another wonderful act of mercy for our undeserving souls from our Lord. Punishment in purgatory is necessary for those who are saved, outside of being in the state of sanctity, since we will suffer the loss of our wrong doings…we loose the gift (reward – our remittance for our sins), and time in purgatory, being purified in fire, is necessary for all sins committed which haven’t been atoned for (covered/paid for) on earth before a soul can enter into eternal bliss with Jesus. (cf. I Corinthians 3:11-15) Fortunately, after someone’s purification process is complete an eternity in heaven is theirs.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.– Matthew 5:8
STATE OF PURITY
The state of purity is the beautiful state our soul is in after our sins are forgiven—either through prayer (for venial sins), after receiving Communion (for venial sins), and after confession (for both venial and mortal sins). However, to receive complete forgiveness, we must be sorry for all of our sins. If we are OK with committing some sins since they are “no big deal”, then they won’t be forgiven and the state of purity we could have been in won’t be obtained. After we’ve been forgiven completely, staying in the state of purity for any substantial amount of time is quite challenging since we sin so frequently. We sin so often, in fact, that many times we are completely blind to the offenses we commit against God. Fortunately, God will send graces to those who—with a sorrowful and contrite heart—confess their sins through the sacrament of reconciliation, to help them desire to be perfect so they can obtain and stay in the state of purity.
There is no surer way to know that one is a saint than to see him lead a holy life and yet suffer desolation, trials and tribulations.
–St. Louis Gonzaga
STATE OF SANCTITY
The state of sanctity is when a soul is in the state of grace and purity, and free from the punishment of their sins. A soul in the state of sanctity is ready to enter straight into heaven at the hour of their death. This is the state God calls all of us to be in, and is His plan for all of our souls. This state can be achieved on Earth or in purgatory. God left heaven and became man, choosing to die a torturous death to pay the penalty for our sins so we could become saints. To be in the state of sanctity should be our goal in life. The amazing joy God gives, as well as His generosity in removing punishment for sins should drive souls to eradicate all their sins, deny themselves, and suffer out of love for God, so they can be given the grace they need to fulfill God’s plans for them and be rewarded a beautiful place in heaven. There is truly nothing we can do personally to amend for our immense offenses against God, since we are so wretched. Therefore, we must rely on God’s great love and mercy so He can give us the graces we need to sanctify our lives on earth and be rewarded a beautiful place in heaven.
Being full of grace brings perfect trust, that no treachery could sway a soul from peace.
STATE FULL OF GRACE
To be so enveloped in God’s love, so united with Him that not a single distraction sways a single thought away from God and His perfect plan for us, doing everything completely for the love of Him, is an incredible state to be in. It is a state free from sin (obeying God’s commands perfectly), and is an amazing gift from God. Unlike Jesus and His mother—who were conceived and born without original sin and could maintain being in a state full of grace—we possess a great inclination to sin. We are so inclined to sin, that this state of being “full of grace,” is nothing short of a miracle for us sinners, not that every bit of grace given isn’t miraculous, since we are truly such wretched creatures. This state is given solely as a gift from the Lord, through His grace, as no merit or works of love could ever make one worthy of such love from God.
Why be in the
OUR BRIDEGROOM AWAITS – When we approach Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we want to be as pure as we can be. Our bridegroom is waiting for us, and the more beautiful (pure) we are for our Lord, the more pleased He will be with us, and the more He will bless us with gifts (graces). To approach Him, perfectly pure (without the stain of sin on our souls) at the sacrifice of the Mass, is a wonderful gift to give Jesus, who gave us everything. Necessary…no…beautiful…yes. It is one small way we can console our Lord for all the defilements we commit against Him.
ENFLAMED WITH EXCITEMENT – You wouldn’t attend your wedding without washing your face or brush your hair and teeth, would you? Before you meet your spouse-to-be, or even enter the church for your wedding, you would want to be ready in every way; you would want to look your best and you would be enflamed with excitement. We need to take that same approach and have the same enflamed excitement each and every time we enter the church for that amazing banquet of love we’re about to participate in through the magnificence of the Mass. Our Lord would surely take great delight in a pure soul who wants to be as pleasing to Him as they can be and awaits Him with overflowing excitement.
OPENING UP TO RECEIVE EVERYTHING – When we are free from the stain of sin, we are open and ready to receive every blessing the Mass can deliver. From the first blessing the priest gives us, to when he says, “The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” That grace, love and fellowship can be ours, since all of our sins have already been forgiven, with nothing remaining to push away God’s love from us. We are ready to receive everything He wants to give us during the Mass.
COME PREPARED – If it was your wedding day and you’d forgotten your wedding garment, you’d certainly postpone the ceremony until you were prepared. God expects us to do the same with coming to Mass. There is nothing more important than being a pure tabernacle when we go to receive our Lord. Of course God doesn’t want us to spend a lot of our time dressing up in fine clothes—not that he wants us to be disrespectful either—but He wants our priorities to be in godly order. The state of our soul should come first. God wants us to prepare our soul for His banquet of love. As the Lord said in 1 Samuel 16:7, “the Lord looks at the heart.” He doesn’t look at us in the way that we look at the outward appearances of others. Therefore, God wants our souls to be ready (pure) to meet our bridegroom (Jesus) in the sacrifice of the Mass.
STATE OF PURITY AND OPENNESS – When someone goes to confession with a fully contrite heart—when possible, just prior to Mass—they are in the greatest state of purity and openness. Their soul is remarkably open to receive more graces since they just received a flood of graces from the sacrament of reconciliation. Now their soul, for lack of better words, is “warmed up”—ready and waiting—for even more of God’s blessings during the Mass. And if the soul remains in prayer after confession into the beginning of the Mass, the Holy Spirit will continue this state of openness even more perfectly, and an even greater flood of fantastic graces would be obtainable from our Lord’s most generous heart.
PURITY IS IMPORTANT – Being in a state of purity at Mass is so important. We ask God for forgiveness of our sins in the beginning of the celebration during the Penitential Rite when we say, “I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault…”And for those who didn’t wash themselves clean (go to confession) before coming to Mass, who are still in a state of grace (without mortal sin), and possess sorrow for all of their sins while asking for forgiveness (not merely a recitation of words), forgiveness will be given, and they will be made pure. All too often, however, we take for granted the words (prayers) that are spoken during the Mass, and thus the prayers are forfeited, becoming just words that are parroted with no meaning or deliverance to God. Therefore, when no actual forgiveness is requested, no forgiveness will be given. Then the soul isn’t purified, and that pure tabernacle which should be within us to receive the Lord, won’t be there.
PURE TABERNACLE – However, if our tabernacle is pure, we are ready to receive our most merciful Lord, who is giving us His everything—His actual body, blood, soul, and divinity—to eat in order to give us even more grace (which is strength to avoid sin) and love to free us from our chains of death. When our soul is completely forgiven, it becomes a pure living sacrifice to unite with Jesus’ sacrifice on the alter and becomes an open vessel which will receive grace after grace and can be enveloped with God’s love in such an amazing way that we could experience incredible bliss as the Lord delights in our soul.
EUCHARIST FORGIVES SINS – Receiving the Holy Eucharist itself forgives venial sins when someone ask for forgiveness with a truly sorrowful heart. This is done right before we eat the flesh of our Lord by praying, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” The sorrowful desires of one’s heart for their sins is necessary for forgiveness to be received. If the soul wasn’t purified prior to consuming our Lord during the confession (venial or mortal sins), the Penitential Rite (venial sins), the Lord’s Prayer (venial sins) or prior to receiving our Lord, then Jesus is received into a tainted soul. If they are suffering with mortal sin on their soul and still receive the Eucharist, they are committing a sacrilege, harming their soul and scourging our Lord.
Of course, the more beautiful we are (pure) and the greater we desire to love and obey the Lord, the greater the reward we will receive. God has said over and over in the Bible—especially to the Pharisees—that it isn’t the “ritual” that’s important. We can “do” everything God says, but if in our hearts we are only doing it to get out of trouble or to be seen as holy and acceptable, then there is no merit (reward) involved. The “grace” we hope to receive from the Eucharist—if our hearts do not love God and our neighbor—won’t be given to us due to the lack of charity in our hearts.
CONFESS MORTAL SINS TO A PRIEST – I want to reiterate, this forgiveness God gives, through the Eucharist, is only for non-serious sins. As John said clearly in 1 John 5:16, sins which are deadly (mortal) we should not pray for them. The Penitential Rite, nor Holy Communion, nor any Prayer, will forgive the sinner of mortal sins.* Therefore, we must confess to a priest all serious sins (mortal sins), asking God for forgiveness as Jesus said in the Gospel of John 20:21-23. If the Holy Eucharist is received while still in the state of death (mortal sin), the recipient of Communion is causing great harm to their soul as 1 Cor. 11:27–28 states, and it is a sacrilege which scourges our Lord deeply. Never receive Communion if there is a possibility of unforgiven mortal sin present. This truth is gravely forgotten in our Church.
**However, if it’s impossible for a soul to attend confession—not because of embarrassment or any other excuse, but really, truly impossible—and they are dead in their sins (meaning they committed mortal sin), and their soul has perfect contrition (which is very hard to possess & and only God truly knows) for their sins because they greatly offended God (not just simply sorrow because they don’t want to go to hell or some other selfish motive), then their mortal sin could be forgiven by simply asking God for forgiveness, since God reads the minds and probes the hearts. He will forgive anyone who truly seeks forgiveness, just like Jesus did for the criminal crucified next to Him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). That criminal, who was born dead (with original sin) and has committed many actual sins in his life (deserving of punishment in purgatory), was completely forgiven – like with the waters of baptism (pardoned from the punishment of his sins as well), because of his perfect contrition, due to the desires of his heart. God can do the same for us. If we have already been baptized, then the punishment for our sins will still exist but forgiveness can be given from the perfect sorrow in someone’s heart. Nonetheless, when it does become possible for that soul to attend confession—since God gave the power to forgive sins to the priests (John 20:23), wants us to confess our mortal sins to a priest (1 John 5:16), and to be certain we are forgiven since we don’t know if we have perfect contrition—that soul is obliged to go to the sacrament of reconciliation as soon as possible.