Do my actions still bear fruit in the state of mortal sin?

Even if I’m in the state of mortal sin, are all the graces I receive from offering my actions (and prayers even) “halved” in some way? Maybe it’s just me being scruple and i do not want to be but i’m just curious.

Good works performed in the state of mortal sin have no merit, that is to say, they do not gain any kind of reward towards salvation. They cannot, as the Lord said, “earn treasure in heaven.” For good works to be salutary, they must be performed in the state of sanctifying grace.

However, God can and does provide actual grace out of his own goodness even for such actions, Those actual graces are not saving grace, but they are aids he sends people to dispose them towards reconciliation and back to sanctifying grace. This is why people in mortal sin, even though, they cannot atone for their sins through good works, must continue to pray and perform good works because this disposes the soul to receiving God’s help as he tries to guide you back to him.

ok so if I offer up all my labors at work and anything positive (whether it be physical or verbal) for others those do have merit and benefits right? I’m not talking for myself

If you are in a state of mortal sin, you should go to confession or if you can’t get to a priest, make an Act of Perfect Contrition, which is explained there, and then go to Confession as soon as you possibly can.

The link above explains this as well as including the prayer itself. This link does too.

If you suffer or think you might suffer from excessive scrupulousity, you should also discuss this with a priest.

Let me clearly state I am not dismissing your contentions, just want to know where i can find out more, because it seems to defy logic that a good work has no merit if coming from someone in mortal sin.

Although having not received absolution through the sacrament, sins are forgiven before you even approach the confessional, if you have acknowledge your sinfulness to God and have every intent to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

I find it difficult to believe that with all Gods mercy, he would not still encourage and validate good works of sinners.

But, like I say, perhaps my logic is twisted , and I welcome references for Church teachings.


No; good works done in a state or mortal sin have no merit whatsoever and are useless for your salvation or the salvation of others. You cannot give the grace acquired from good works to other people if you have no grace in the first place.

Go to confession and regain your sanctifying grace.

Why is it difficult to believe? Man cannot earn salvation on his own. This is basic Catholic teaching, grounded solidly on Scripture. Man in mortal sin has no supernatural life, so he cannot receive supernatural reward. It is impossible to be truly “good” outside of sanctifying grace, since in mortal sin, we are enemies of God.

And yet, I said that even when in mortal sin, even though one cannot earn salutary (i.e. saving) reward/merit, God still does give reward, but in the form of actual grace, so that he can be led to repentance.

Baltimore Catechism:
Q. 482. Can a person merit any supernatural reward for good deeds performed while he is in mortal sin?

A. A person cannot merit any supernatural reward for good deeds performed while he is in mortal sin; nevertheless, God rewards such good deeds by giving the grace of repentance; and, therefore, all persons, even those in mortal sin, should ever strive to do good.

I am somewhat troubled by dshix’s post. I mean You can’t really go to what the traditional Catechism says . I do believe that God’s most merciful gentleness and mercy will use all our good deeds to save others. When you think about it all of us stay in the state of sin for most of our lives so if that’s the case then all the suffering and good works in today’s word is basically worthless and all gone to waste. :hmmm:

This is a de fide teaching from which one cannot dissent without falling into heresy. It is impossible to please God outside of the state of grace. Why would God, in his mercy and gentleness reward anyone who is his enemy due to mortal sin? Our works by themselves are filthy rags before God, which is why Jesus had to come and die for us. To say otherwise is to profess salvation by works, a notion we are falsely accused of and condemned by the Church.

**Council of Trent, Session VI Canon 1. If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

In fact, to be strict about it, you cannot be “good” outside of the state of grace. And no, not all of us stay in the state of sin most of our lives. Many of us, through hard work and God’s grace try to always remain in the state of grace through frequent Confession and Communion. Venial sin, maybe, but venial sin does not separate us from God, we we can still merit reward for our works.

And yes, for the multitudes of those who choose to remain in mortal sin, their good works and sufferings, while they can merit actual grace, will never save them for as long as they remain unrepentant. But as we already said, God can and does reward such deeds with actual grace that would hopefully lead them to sanctifying grace.

That is not correct. The action of going to Confession is not an act of perfect contrition.
Only making an act of perfect contrition (and honestly I defy anyone to say they are 100% sure they made it) with the firm intent to get to Confession as soon as possible.
Under your thought process every Catholic who is on their way to Confession would be saved if they dropped dead before they arrived which of course is an error. Many people go to Confession mainly motivated by fear of going to Hell (imperfect contrition).

Your actions bear no fruit in the state of mortal sin is the sad answer to your question. Take heart mate, you are not on your own. It’s not easy to confess private matters to another fallible human and so many people remain in this state rather than avoid the embarrassment of confession. I suppose such people should actually think of quitting church completely. They can do no good, and the old adage ‘better to be hung for a sheep as a lamb’ seems to apply, because, as has already been stated, they are ‘enemies of God’ already.

Best wishes,

I do go to confession. I am a practicing catholic and go as much as I can to mass whenever i can. I was just asking since i work a lot. I just didnt anyone to think that i am the type to sin and still expect myself to enter Heaven

If your real question was about missing Sunday Mass, then you should know that missing Sunday Mass for a just or serious reason carries no sin, even venial. It sounds to me you’re thinking that because your work prevents you from going to Mass you’re always in sin, which is not the case. It’s only missing Sunday Mass without a serious reason that’s gravely sinful.

Of course, a Catholic must do his best to always plan his week around Sunday Mass, but once your best effort has been exhausted, God does not expect the impossible.

lol i’ve known for a long while that God doesn’t punish those who are literally unable to attend mass due to sickness or work. My primary question was because I just wanted to know if my labors that I offer (even if im in the state of mortal sin for whatever reason) can still be used to help others

The question was about works bearing any good for a person not in the state of grace.

The answer is yes it will bear good even tho not in grace if understood properly.
The good is twofold:
…It may be rewarded by God in this life because God is just and gives good for good.
…It will be rewarded by God to dispose the person in sin to desire or actually return into the state of grace.

However prayers/works done in the state of sin will not be rewarded with supernatural reward/merit for oneself or others. This is the teaching of the church.

The idea of supernatural merit/reward is based on the Christian’s image before God, whether the image/life of Jesus is in that person or not. If not then since the divine presence is lacking to the soul, then the person has no right to the merit/right that the divine presence alone brings. But as a natural being, God may decide to reward the person on a temporal or this world basis only.

St. Catherine of Siena touches on this subject, whether God rewards a person not in grace. And she said that God does, and should not be told that he doesn’t even tho not in a supernatural way. That they should continue their good works and are counted in some way and people should not discontinue their good works because of this. She is a doctor of the church.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Do prayers (say for someone else’s salvation) still work if in sin?

It would seem that small sacrifices / sufferings offered up would not be counted?

Do prayers (say for someone else’s salvation) still work if in sin?
The church says no. But those prayers would still be good toward’s grace for one’s own repentenance.

It would seem that small sacrifices / sufferings offered up would not be counted?
They wouldn’t be counted toward a greater reward in heaven, but they would be counted towards grace for one’s own repentenance in the here and now.

Even tho the church has said certain things, God still reads the heart and may bless a person in his own way, maybe even in an earthly reward. Noone should give up doing good because of being in sin, for God does see our attitude and goodness. And we really don’t know how in some cases God rewards good done.

May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Of course good works can still merit others.

Where in the Catechism does it say that?

So if someone hadnt been to Confession yet & they prayed for the conversion of someone else - this prayer would be useless?

I can get my head around good works not counting, but if prayers are also void then what’s the point of anything?

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