Every time a Catholic priest celebrates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, after greeting the people, he introduces them into an examination of conscience. Everybody, the priest included, should enter into the inner recesses of his heart, discover his sins, and then confess publically that he/she is a sinner.

The Liturgy offers a variety of penitential expressions. However, possibly the most well-known (composed by a repentant sinner who became a great saint, Saint Augustine) is the “Confiteor”—“I confess….

As the prayer continues we arrive at four different ways that we can sin and offend God: thought, word, deed, and omission. Bad thoughts not rejected can become sins; lies are against the truth and so we sin; stealing, we actively sin. Finally there is the sin of omission.

What does omission mean?  Simply this: failing to carry out the obligations that are imposed on us by our state of life.  Being negligent, overlooking responsibilities, cutting corners, choosing an easy path due to expedience, and let us cut to the quick--- simply giving into  sloth or laziness often results in sins of omission!

Due to a poorly formed conscience, all too frequently sins of omission are overlooked!   Pope Pius XII expressed the state of conscience in these penetrating words:  “The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.”  How many people, who call themselves “Catholic” today, will not even approach the confessional uttering these words: “I do not need to go to confession because I have no sins!”

Wrong!   Only Jesus, the Son of the living God and Mary His Immaculate Mother can honestly state that they are sinless from the moment of their conceptions until death.  But as for the rest of humanity, we are born with Original Sin, have strong tendencies toward sin, do not resist these tendencies and fall into sin.   The Bible says:  “The just man falls seven times a day.” St. John in one of his letters reiterates this:  If we say we have no sin we are a liar and the truth of God is not in us.”  Words quite blunt and clear! 

The very name of Jesus expresses the primary purpose of His mission.  “Jesus” means God saves.  What did He come to save us from? SIN!    He was born, lived, suffered and died on the cross and rose from the dead to save us from sin, the devil, and eternal damnation!

This being the case, what are some concrete ways that we may be guilty of falling into sin, specifically the sin of omission?   In this short article we will focus on the sin of omission related to our attitude and reception of the Sacraments.

One of the most painful thorns that must pierce the most Sacred Heart of Jesus is INDIFFERENCE!  How excruciatingly painful is the sin of indifference!   The last book of the Bible,  Revelation/Apocalypse expresses how God views indifference.  You are neither hot nor cold, I wish you were, but you are lukewarm. I will spit you out of my mouth.”  Powerful words!  How often in the modern world, and especially among Catholics, is Jesus forgotten, put on the back burner, and simply taken for granted?

Jesus said, “I have come to cast fire on the earth and I am not at peace until that fire be ignited.”  Lovers have passion for human love. Millionaires exert themselves to the last ounce of their strength to make money. Athletes train to the point of exhaustion. What about Catholics who are called to follow Christ and pursue the pathway to holiness!   We should learn from these worldlings!

SACRAMENTS.  Let us start with the first of Sacraments in our life, that which is called the doorway to the church, the portal or entrance—the Sacrament of Baptism!

OBSERVATION AND COMMENTARY!  These would be the most common manifestations of negligence and omission on the part of parents that prepare to have their children baptized in the Church.

1.    UNMARRIED.  Most parents that come in to have their child baptized are not even married in the Catholic Church. Now you tell me!  How can parents that have chosen a sinful lifestyle of living in free-union or cohabitation teach their children the basics of the Catholic faith?  Even if they knew their faith better then Saint Thomas Aquinas, still their lifestyle contradicts the faith that they may profess with their lips.   There is a poignant Argentine proverb: “Escribir con la mano y borrar con el codo.”--- “Write with your hand and erase with your elbow.” In other words, hypocrisy!  How can you teach your faith with words if you contradict it with your lifestyle?

2.    NO MASS ATTENDANCE.  Not only do many fail to get married properly in the church, but they do not even make any effort to do the minimum and that is to attend Sunday Mass. True, living in free-union they cannot receive Holy Communion, but they should at least attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.

3.    BETTER LATE THAN NEVER.  Finally, with respect to negligence in the reception of the Sacrament of Baptism, more than ninety percent of those who baptize delay.    The Church wants the child to be baptized within the first few weeks, before the month has transpired.   Priests in Parishes meet parents bringing their children from three months to five years!   Jesus said:  “Let the children come to me.”   Delaying the baptism of the child without sufficient reason could result in grave sin. Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Unless a man be born of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Very serious words of the Savior!  By delaying and denying baptism of the child all the following graces and blessings are lost: sonship with the Father, brotherhood with Jesus, friendship with the Holy Spirit, the elimination of Original Sin, the deprivation of the three theological virtues, the four moral virtues, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, future actual graces and inspirations, and even the liberation from the evil spirit!   All of these are lost because parents are flippant, lazy, and nonchalant about baptizing their child in obedience to the teaching of the Church.   Pope Benedict was born Holy Saturday in Germany 1927 and was baptized the same night at the Easter vigil Mass—the first to be baptized. Superb example!



Working in a Parish context for more than a quarter of a century I make these observations.   All of these reflect an urgent need for evangelization, education, and permanent formation, especially on the level of the adults.

Children are catechized to make their first Holy Communion. The teens come to classes for Confirmation, the sick are anointed, they die and are buried. But what about the huge class of individuals that we call  ADULTS????

Unfortunately, after first Communion and Confirmation, and these formation classes, almost across the board, no more doctrinal formation is given on the adult level.  This must change and as soon as possible!

PROPOSAL!  Adult formation classes for parents who register their children for first  Communion and Confirmation should be given, but with solid doctrinal, and moral content. Let us pray that parishes will offer--- better than offer require --- that parents must attend ongoing formation classes accompanying their children who prepare to receive their sacraments.

Many parents have never learned or have forgotten that they are the primary educators of their children.  The priests, the nuns, the catechists indeed can help in the formation of the child or teen, but it is the primary responsibility of the parents to teach their children about God. Parents must be the first educators.  The primary responsibility of the parents is to prepare and pave the road to heaven for their children.

So let us beg the Lord mercy for our negligence, our failures due to sloth or laziness and our sins of omission and starting right now propose to be a blazing light for our children always pointing to Jesus  who is the Light of the world.