Prayer during mortal sin?


I have heard that Saint Thomas [as well as other] have said that prayers are not heard or are of no benefit, when one is in mortal sin.
The caveat is that prayers of petition for forgiveness and getting back in our Lord’s good graces are heard.

What about though, the rosary and prayers and petitions to our Lady? What other prayers or practices might be helpful before one can get to confession? This is a topic I have wondered about for quite some time. [ Hopefully this is the correct category.]


Mate if your praying to Our Lady and saying the Rosary, I can’t imagine what kind of Mortal sin you would commit?
It has been a long standing belief of mine( being Catholic in good standing and full of wisdom, entitles me to have a belief worthy of any other) If you confess your sin to God with full repentance of heart then you are ok until you can confess to a priest who will absolve you and then to receive Christ in the Eucharist to absolve you in the other realm, if your sin is against man and God.
So I would not be in agreement with Thomas given God is Mercy and Love, that would be like me telling my kids to get lost I’m not listening to them if they plead for forgiveness, nonsense in my book.


I have heard also that it is sometimes heard so I’d say it depends on the mercy of God. In all truth I’d say we can’t know for sure but I expect God pays more attention to it if it is likely to be getting someone out of mortal sin…petitions to Our Lady and the rosary sound like things to do to get one out of sin to me, as they are more than your usual requirement of prayer, so I’d say they are moving you toward contrition. I am no expert, just my opinion though.



Consider the empathetic view: the situation in which you had a child who was clinging to even one deed that was something seriously opposed to the life you had brought them up in for their own good. Do you turn your back on your child talking to you? Of course not! What about when the conversation touches on everything except the way in which the child is trying to live in a way that is opposed to reality? That would be a very false way of conversing with you, wouldn’t it? Does that mean that all you want to talk about is that thing and nothing but that thing? No. What it means, though, is that your conversations would need to put everything else in their right relationship with that issue. If the issue is not being ignored, though, if your child had come back to you and was obviously making the best effort he or she could in good faith to come back and live in reality, then of course they could also talk to you about other things and bring you other concerns.

God is not a less caring parent than we are. God is not petty. God does not brood over injuries. God also does not avoid reality and does not lower expectations. God intends for us to be great saints, both splendidly joyous and unfailingly loving. God will not rest or let us change the subject unless that is the path we are on. That makes sense, right?

We should not think of Our Lady as a back door way to talk to God, in the sense that God is fearsome and out to get us and only softens up when she advocates for us. No, no! She is the Mother who softens US up and brings us around to “do whatever he tells you.” (Jn 2:5) Would the servants at the Wedding Feast at Cana had the courage to approach Our Lord about the wine situation? No, her intercession brought them to Our Lord in confidence (which was shown because they responded to his direction to “fill the jars with water” by filling them “to the brim” (Jn 2:7). That is what Our Lady does, as shown by Our Lord’s choice of his own darkest hour as the time to tell his disciple, “Behold, your Mother.” (Jn 19:27) She is not a “remedy” for hardness of God but a remedy for our tendency to be either fearful in a shrinking way or else lacking in virtuous fear of the Lord. She teaches us to approach in a way that is both in awe and yet without trembling, without fear of asking questions in prayer such as “how can this be?” (Lk 1:34)


I’m not sure if that is so, but if he did say that it points to the fact that what the saints say is not infallible. St. Augustine famously said that the Gospels written by non-Apostles are at best works of plagiarism, and scholars in dating the writings have proved that suspect…Think of how shallow our understanding of Christ would be, if Luke and Mark’s Gospels were not part of the canon.

Disclaimer – I am expressing my opinion and not looking for validaiton or argument, so I limit my input to a single post per thread. Send me a PM, and I will be happy to continue the discussion without monopolizing this fine venue.


All the posts have be great so far, but this is just awesome, thanks!


This is only true to a degree. When in mortal sin, no prayers or good works are of any salutary value. That is to say, they do not gain you any merit that brings salvation and most certainly do not restore you to sanctifying grace. This puts to rest any claims that Catholicism teaches salvation by works.

However, prayer and good works even in mortal sin can dispose you to receive actual grace, which is granted solely out of God’s goodness, not for any merit of your own. This actual grace can move you to repentance and confession, and thereby restoration to sanctifying grace.


In addition to porthos11’s excellent post, it is important to think of prayer as maintaining the communication/ relationship/ lifeline with God.

I prayed frequently and quite a bit during some of the most sinful times of my life, begging God to please help everyone involved and to help me understand what to do/ how to behave. People in sin are usually pretty confused - stuff happened or one thing led to another and then all of a sudden you’re deep in the swamp. If you keep reaching for God (or Mary, saints etc) then they do help. It also shows you have not rejected God and you’re not ignoring God.

That doesn’t mean you can just go sin willy-nilly as long as you pray, but more that when you find yourself stuck in a bad place and you don’t know what to do, talking to God is a very good thing to do, and God will certainly hear you.


I wish I could even say this, but the only times I ever prayed during the really sinful part of my life was when I was in complete despair. Fortunately for me though, even then, he answered.


I didn’t say that what I was praying for was actually a good thing or anything. Fortunately, at some point I realized I needed to turn back to God and quit my biggest sin, then gradually I quit doing other big sins, and by the time I got back to confession a few years later, I was almost completely back on track. It was a grace of God that I got the time to turn things back around.


Pray, pray often. I have prayed while in mortal sin and received answers. You can’t beat sin without prayer. That being said, get to confession as soon as possible.

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