If a person does good works when not officially forgiven yet, does it count?


#1

Before going to confession and getting his/her sins officially forgiven, if a Catholic does good works in the present when they’re not forgiven yet will it help “undo” the sins they’ve committed? In other words, let’s say there was a person who’s committed many mortal sins in his life. He planned to go to confession next week to have them all forgiven. But, before that confession occurs there is still that week in which they are still not forgiven yet. During this time, if he did many good works, would they still undo some Purgatory time and/or help him earn his salvation? If a person does good works when not officially forgiven yet, does it count towards their salvation?


#2

The sacrament of Reconciliation applies retroactively the merits of good works done even while in a state of mortal sin.


#3

Scripture has it that charitable acts atone for a multitude of sins and that even a cup of water given in Jesus’s name will not go unrewarded.


#4

So your good works count as long as you intend them to serve God, even if you’re not forgiven for your sins yet?


#5

Good deeds done in the name of Jesus will not go unrewarded. How this related to unforgiven sins (especially mortal sins), I don’t know because we are also taught that if we die in a state of unrepentant mortal sin, we are lost forever. What bearing will our good deeds have, I really don’t know.


#6

[quote=PMV]So your good works count as long as you intend them to serve God, even if you’re not forgiven for your sins yet?
[/quote]

Exactly, but note that, as you said, *"*forgiven for your sint yet". Good works done in mortal sin avail no one who dies unrepentant. But when we receive forgiveness, the good works we have done, along with our souls, are sanctified.


#7

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Exactly, but note that, as you said, *"*forgiven for your sint yet". Good works done in mortal sin avail no one who dies unrepentant. But when we receive forgiveness, the good works we have done, along with our souls, are sanctified.
[/quote]

Is there a CCC reference for that?


#8

I don’t think I agree with the answer so far (Dr. C). I’m going to try to look it up, but so far as I know, works done while you are not in a state of grace do not have the kind of merit that the original poster probably has in mind. Supernatural motive, like charity, is a prerequisite for that kind of merit, I think, and the person would not have had it while doing the works.

But, I understand that there is some consensus that if you have some merits, then later do a mortal sin, and then go to confession and are put right, then those merits (which you had had while in the state of grace before) they may be reinstated.

The original poster may be thinking about if you are in a state of mortal sin, then make an act of perfect contrition, and resolve to go to confession in a few days when a priest is available, then the good acts done in the interim would have merit. I think, because the person would already be in a state of grace and having charity and sanctifying grace, then there could be merit.


#9

Good works done in a state of mortal sin do NOT remove temporal punishment for sin. They have no lasting effect on the soul. St. Louis Mary de Monfort noted in True Devotion to Mary, when the souls would come to Heaven to present to Our Lady a bouquet of flowers of their good works, how the angels would take out the flowers that appeared good and beautiful that had no scent (those done in mortal sin), and throw them to the ground and trod upon them.

Such works are not meritorious in increasing our happiness in Heaven, and they in no way can remit punishment in Purgatory by indulgence, for one cannot earn any indulgence (whether partial or plenary) outside a State of Grace.


#10

I am in RCIA and today was the rite of acceptance. So what I say easily could be wrong – I’m still learning.

I suppose apart from the power of Christ, there is no potential for “good works”. If somebody who has sinned is capable of doing “good works”, they may have already repented.

I heard Fulton Sheen once speak of the “Divine Invasion”. Perhaps if God has previously used a person, then God may be able to instantaneously use that person again at a time of great need. I wonder if Samson is an example. If so, then Satan must surely tremble in fear of any Christian (even if they are currently in some snare). Especially if that Christian is praying on their knees.

Judges 16:26-30 Samson said to the attendant who was holding his hand, “Put me where I may touch the columns that support the temple and may rest against them.” The temple was full of men and women: all the lords of the Philistines were there, and from the roof about three thousand men and women looked on as Samson provided amusement. Samson cried out to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, remember me! Strengthen me, O God, this last time that for my two eyes I may avenge myself once and for all on the Philistines.” Samson grasped the two middle columns on which the temple rested and braced himself against them, one at his right hand, the other at his left. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He pushed hard, and the temple fell upon the lords and all the people who were in it. Those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his lifetime.**

As an evangelical, I had learned this saying: “Only what is done for Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit will last.” The implication was that all else would burn as hay and stubble.

If a Catholic has perfect repentance with the intent to confess a sin when they are able to, then they already have been forgiven. Please refer to CCC #1452.

I suppose that God is more willing and more able to work with us than we often think.

Please don’t refrain from doing good because you haven’t yet gone to confession. Let God do through you what He wants to do. I suppose that if some good work will result in increasing somebody’s happiness in heaven, then everyone in heaven will subsequently also be more happy – including yourself as long as you are going there.

Hebrews 10:24 We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.


#11

Well, I forgot that I had to go to a Christmas party last evening, so I tried to look some stuff up today. I’m not having much luck. Here is a quote from the CCC 2008

Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ

And CCC 2011

Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit

This says to me it is our supernatural quality acts that have merit. But acts done while we are not in a state of grace do not have the supernatural quality as far as I understand, because they do not proceed in Christ, because we are not in Christ at the time.

All that I could find in Trent seemed to be assuming that we are taking about merits for good works done while in a state of grace. Here is an example sixth session ch 16:

For since Jesus Christ Himself, as the head into the members and as the vine into the branches, continually infuses strength into those justified, which strength always proceeds, accompanies and follows their good works, and without which they could not in any manner be pleasing and meritorious before God…

This is surely talking about the gospel of John and the vine and branches in, oh, chapter 15, I think. About having to abide in him and without doing that, you can do Nothing.

Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma talks like the following: “a supernatural reward is proportioned only to supernatural actions accomplished by a person who is in a state of friendship with God.” He says the person meriting must be in the wayfaring state (you know, on earth) and in a state of grace. see pp164-269 in English version.

I can find no hint of getting merits (merits of the sort I believe we are talking about) for works done while in a state of mortal sin.


#12

[quote=CatholicCrusade]Good works done in a state of mortal sin do NOT remove temporal punishment for sin. They have no lasting effect on the soul. St. Louis Mary de Monfort noted in True Devotion to Mary, when the souls would come to Heaven to present to Our Lady a bouquet of flowers of their good works, how the angels would take out the flowers that appeared good and beautiful that had no scent (those done in mortal sin), and throw them to the ground and trod upon them.

Such works are not meritorious in increasing our happiness in Heaven, and they in no way can remit punishment in Purgatory by indulgence, for one cannot earn any indulgence (whether partial or plenary) outside a State of Grace.
[/quote]

I wish I had the actul text in front of me to quote from but in one of those “lives of the saints” book it was revealed that there was a young man that lived a sinful life. One day a disastor befell the village in which he lived. Without giving it a second thought, he ran out to help others and was killed in the process. Family and friends wondered why God punished him by taking his life when he was finally starting to do something good and not taken his life earlier when he was going sinful acts. It was revealed that God, in his mercy, called the young man to his final judgement when the man was doing acts of charity toward others and his soul was in the best state to be judged favorable.

Can anyone provide a link to this story?


#13

Hello PMV,

You should not use the words, “help him earn his salvation”. Nothing you could ever do could “earn” salvation for yourself. Having your sins disolved is an unearned gift from God through Jesus Christ given to those who love and obey God with all thier hearts.

Let us put Jesus’ Good Samaritan story in modern day terms. Let us say the the Jewish priest and Levite minister are a Pope, Cardinal, or Bishop huriedly on their way to the confessional. Let us say that the Samaritan is someone like a Protestant or Gentile who do not have the sacrament of reconciliation. Which person do you see as fulfilling Christ’s order “do this and you will live”?

Was the Samaritan baptized, circumsized or in a state of grace? I think that the reason Jesus used the Samaritan as the person to fullfill God’s requirement for entering into eternal life, rather than the Jewish priest or Levite minister, was that God’s Church (Jewish) did not see Samaritans as in a state of grace, “in the bosom of the Church (Jewish)” or under God’s covenant.

I am not trying to belittle the sacrament of reconciliation or baptism. I am saying that fullfilling God’s two great commandments is a powerful trump card which, when played, out ranks all other things in regard to importance. While using the sacraments of baptism and reconciliation, put Jesus’ and the Father’s two great commandments as your above all else priority and it will be your shield at the hour of your judgement.

NAB LUKE 10:25

Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” **He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” **He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, "A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.

A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him.

The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’

Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?"

He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

**NAB LUK 11:41 **

“But if you give what you have as alms, all will be wiped clean for you” NAB 1PE 4:8

Above all, let your love for one another be constant, for love covers a multitude of sins.

NAB SIR 3:29

Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins. He who does a kindness is remembered afterward; when he fails, he finds a support. **NAB SIR 29:12 **

Store up almsgiving in your treasure house, and it will save you from every evil, Better than a stout shield and a sturdy spear it will fight for you against the foe.

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com


#14

[quote=CatholicCrusade]Good works done in a state of mortal sin do NOT remove temporal punishment for sin. They have no lasting effect on the soul. St. Louis Mary de Monfort noted in True Devotion to Mary, when the souls would come to Heaven to present to Our Lady a bouquet of flowers of their good works, how the angels would take out the flowers that appeared good and beautiful that had no scent (those done in mortal sin), and throw them to the ground and trod upon them.

Such works are not meritorious in increasing our happiness in Heaven, and they in no way can remit punishment in Purgatory by indulgence, for one cannot earn any indulgence (whether partial or plenary) outside a State of Grace.
[/quote]

Hi Catholic Crusade,
Excuse me Catholic Crusade and all of the catholics who have read this post, and accepted this answer: where is Christ?
Christ be with you,
Walk in lovehttp://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon7.gif
edwinG


#15

[quote=PMV]Before going to confession and getting his/her sins officially forgiven, if a Catholic does good works in the present when they’re not forgiven yet will it help “undo” the sins they’ve committed? In other words, let’s say there was a person who’s committed many mortal sins in his life. He planned to go to confession next week to have them all forgiven. But, before that confession occurs there is still that week in which they are still not forgiven yet. During this time, if he did many good works, would they still undo some Purgatory time and/or help him earn his salvation? If a person does good works when not officially forgiven yet, does it count towards their salvation?

[/quote]

Hi PMV,
I have used your post as this is your thread but the answer is the same for a good many posts. As you believe so let it be, If you want to believe all these rules and regulations, these laws, then they apply to you. Me I just believe, therefore all those rules you have to follow,can’t make me guilty.I have freedom in Christ, you are worrying up a storm and making your road to heaven a road to hell. ( I dont believe in your purgatory, just paradise or hell, until the second coming)
Christ be with you
walk in lovehttp://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon7.gif
edwinG


#16

[quote=CatholicCrusade] … Such works are not meritorious in increasing our happiness in Heaven, and they in no way can remit punishment in Purgatory by indulgence, for one cannot earn any indulgence (whether partial or plenary) outside a State of Grace.
[/quote]

Then why does scripture tell us that even a cup of water given in the name of Christ will not go UNREWARDED and that charitable works ATONE for a multitude of sins.


#17

[quote=edwinG](I dont believe in your purgatory, just paradise or hell, until the second coming)
[/quote]

Out of curiosity, can you please answer the following for me:

  1. Do you believe that we, as humans, have sinful natures? And that we still have this sinful nature right up to the moment of our death?

  2. Do you believe that those who are in Heaven have not the slightest hint of sin?

  3. Assuming that one’s final destination is paradise, what do you believe happens between “time of death minus N thousandths of a second” and “time of death plus N thousandths of a second”?


#18

[quote=edwinG]( I dont believe in your purgatory, just paradise or hell, until the second coming)
[/quote]

Out of curiosity, can you please answer the following questions for me:

  1. Do you believe that we, as humans, have a sinful nature right up until the time of our death?

  2. Do you believe that those who are in heaven have not even the slightest hint of sin?

  3. What do you believe happens to the heaven-bound between “T minus N thousandths of a second prior to death” and “T plus N thousandths of a second after death”?


#19

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