Mortal sin and growth in virtue


Is it possible to grow in virtue in a state of mortal sin? Are you more likely to keep committing mortal sins while already in a state of mortal sin or can you be given the grace to overcome the temptations?


Well, by definition mortal sin is a state of spiritual death, so unless you remain in that deadly state, there’s no where to go but up. In other words, confession will bring you infinitely higher compared to the state your soul is in with mortal sin.


There are two kinds of virtues: infused and acquired. While being in a state of mortal sin destroys the infused virtue it is not necessarily so with acquired virtues.

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.


Of course, and the greatest sign of this is attending the Sacrament of Reconcilliation


Well say someone was foolish enough to not go to confession, is there anyway that person could ever grow in the spiritual life?


Yes, because God reaches out to save sinners and bring us back home. All we need do, is desire it. That’s enough, just open the door a little for God to come into our lives. Pope Francis talks a lot about this in his book about mercy


Yes I think it should be possible. I am thinking of the previous worldly lives of St Augustine or St Francis of Assisi, sleeping around with women, and yet feeling unsatisfied and desiring God.


But they continued to fall into mortal sin until they confessed. If they didn’t confess their mortal sins could they done the great things they did?


Yes but the question is whether it is possible to still grow spiritually under mortal sin. It is speculative but I suspect it is possible.


Personally I think you can grow in virtue whose merit is that you repent of the sins and seek reconciliation with God.

And this “mortal sin” business assumes that you know that you are in mortal sin. I f you didn’t know that something was gravely wrong, then the condition of ignorance reduces or cancels your culpability for the sin. That said, we are supposed to work on developing a strong conscience to discern right from wrong, and thereby to grow in holiness.


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