This is why you put into our hearts the fear of you: that we may call upon your name, and praise you in our exile, when we have removed from our hearts all the wickedness of our ancestors who sinned against you.
What we are talking about is the effects of having the sins of our forefathers having a negative influence on us. This is often referred to as generational sin.
It is very important to remember that the sins of previous generations can be visited upon the present generation, as well as our sins today being visited on future generations. The Bible says in Exodus 20:5 (where God gives us His First Commandment to have no strange gods before Him), Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18, & Deuteronomy 5:9, that the punishment for sins can be given to the 3rd and 4th succeeding generations.
You may want to think about that while you are considering committing a mortal sin. Do you really want the punishment for your sin given to your baby daughter, or to your grandson? This actually happened to David, where his son was killed for his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:14), even after his guilt was removed. In the New Testament, Jesus talks about the blood of the prophets killed in previous generations being brought to bear on the current generation in Jerusalem (Matthew 23:29-36 and Luke 11:47-51). That's a scary thought for us alive today, with all of the blood of the 60 million or so innocent babies who were legally killed in the womb in the USA since 1973 being brought to bear upon us someday. There are people who don't believe in future generations being punished for the sins of previous generations, but then you have to remember that we are ALL still suffering for the one sin of Adam and Eve. In 2 Maccabees 6:14, it says that God waits patiently to punish nations until they have reached the full measure of their sins.
Of course, the really good news is that for those who love and serve Jesus, his love is extended to a thousand generations, from Deuteronomy 7:9.
So what do we need to do about all of these inter-generational curses caused by ancestral sins? Two things - You can recite the prayer below from Father Hampsch and the Claretian Teaching Ministry every day. The best time to recite it is immediately after Holy Communion, when you and Jesus Christ are one; when you are like the Blessed Virgin Mary - a living tabernacle of The Savior. That is when you are the holiest, and when your prayers are the most efficacious. A few minutes of heartfelt prayer after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist while in the state of grace are worth many hours of prayer later on.
And, you can also have
"Heavenly Father, I come before you as your child, in great need of your help; I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, Lord. But I also ask you to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders. With your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of your divine Son, Jesus, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, I ask you, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your precious Son, Jesus, I beg you to extend your blessing to me and to all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in future generations of my family tree. I symbolically place the cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the bloodlines in my family lineage. Set your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members' guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let your healing power be released at this very moment, and let it continue as long as your sovereignty permits. In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever-deeper bonding with you, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to your Son, Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus' precious Name. Amen.
"St. Joseph, Patron of family life, pray for us.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who fear him, upon those who count on his mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive through famine. (Ps. 33:18-19)