Prayer in a state of mortal sin


#1

I’m not sure if this is proper or against the rules, but I was going through the “Ask an Apologist” forum and came across this topic:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=45693&highlight=pray+mortal+sin

It’s the second question that I’m wondering about.

if one is for sure in a state of mortal sin and knows he is, is it of any value to pray? or is he completely separated from God until he sacramentally confesses?

And then the answer.

But until we again have sanctifying grace, we can’t do any spiritual good for anybody.

The answer makes it sound like prayers from someone with a mortal sin are worthless. Is this correct?


#2

[quote="pollynova, post:1, topic:314941"]
I'm not sure if this is proper or against the rules, but I was going through the "Ask an Apologist" forum and came across this topic:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=45693&highlight=pray+mortal+sin

It's the second question that I'm wondering about.

And then the answer.

The answer makes it sound like prayers from someone with a mortal sin are worthless. Is this correct?

[/quote]

I remember having the same question when I was in the Pius V group and it didn't make sense to me.

The way I see it is if you ask for forgiveness you are forgiven and your prayers are heard. Why would you be praying in the first place if you were not guided by the Holy Spirit? If you were totally in mortal sin why would you care about God?? Why would you want to pray?? I believe you wouldn't, so your prayers are heard.

An aside, I don't think any of us commit truly a mortal sin by definition in the Catechism. We don't know what it is like to be with God in heaven and then to have it taken away. If we did I am sure we would not commit a mortal sin so the full knowledge of our sin can never be attained if we don't know what we are truly sinning against. It is very hard to commit a true mortal sin. That is my opinion.


#3

[quote="pollynova, post:1, topic:314941"]
I'm not sure if this is proper or against the rules, but I was going through the "Ask an Apologist" forum and came across this topic:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=45693&highlight=pray+mortal+sin

It's the second question that I'm wondering about.

And then the answer.

The answer makes it sound like prayers from someone with a mortal sin are worthless. Is this correct?

[/quote]

Polly,

The Catechism is divided in 4 parts...

Profession of Faith
Sacramental Life
Life in Christ or Modeling Christ
Prayer...

So, you first have to believe revealed truths and those truths guide you to live a Sacramental life, then you are led to model Christ and in that course you need help and pray.

So, your question has to do with prayer. You are led to pray as part of your belief, Sacramental life and life in Christ....

This comes from the Catechism section on prayer...

2567 God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation

If prayer is a response to the calling of God and prayer is asking for help in your Sacramental Life and Life in Christ based on your belief in revealed truths....what are you praying for?

If you accept that Mortal Sin seperates you from God, God still calls and that call is a call to repentance so you can resume

a strengthened profession of Faith
Sacramental Life
Life in Christ
Prayer to accomplish all of the above....

Does this make sense to you...get hold of the Audio Catechism USA for adults and get Catechized....found on Amazon for about $42.00


#4

Mortal sin separates us from Sanctifying Grace and takes us away from our Baptismal right to Heaven. We cannot do anything to merit heaven in this state. However, we can still pray for help, for ourselves and others. Of course, Sacramental Confession restores Sanctifying Grace.


#5

What is a Pius V group?

That is correct that when we go straight to God with a contrite and repentant heart, and we ask for forgiveness, yes of course God forgives us.

Ephesians 2:5
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love He had for us, even when we were dead in our transgression, brought us to life with Christ*(by grace you have been saved).

We still need to be purified of this sin before we enter Heaven and that is the reason for the Sacrament of Confession and Purgatory. A sin is mortal if 3 conditions exist:

  1. Mortal sin is a sin of grave matter
  2. Mortal sin is committed with full knowledge of the sinner
  3. Mortal sin is committed with deliberate consent of the sinner

I don’t agree with your statement however, “It is very hard to commit a true mortal sin.” Perhaps you have never been in mortal sin so it would be hard for you to make that connection.


#6

[quote="michaelmas, post:2, topic:314941"]
An aside, I don't think any of us commit truly a mortal sin by definition in the Catechism. We don't know what it is like to be with God in heaven and then to have it taken away. If we did I am sure we would not commit a mortal sin so the full knowledge of our sin can never be attained if we don't know what we are truly sinning against. It is very hard to commit a true mortal sin. That is my opinion.

[/quote]

This idea has been condemned. I have often thought the same exact thought, and still entertain the idea for educational purposes; However, I believe this is from the fundamental option theory which has been condemned by the church. I.E. Mortal sins are a lot easier to commit than this idea suggests.

catholic.com/quickquestions/what-is-fundamental-option-theory
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veritatis_Splendor#The_.22fundamental_option.2C.22_sin.2C_and_salvation

Peace


#7

When I was a young floundering Catholic I was hooked by a group of Catholics who followed the mass of Pius V. This mass was the pass prior to Pius X group. They believed the Pope was not a Pope and that the seat was empty since the time after John XXIII.

As for Mortal Sin,

from the Cat. 1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

This is my personal opinion, but I honestly think that most of us have never committed a true mortal sin. How do you completely consent to turning from God?


#8

[quote="CopticChristian, post:3, topic:314941"]
Polly,

The Catechism is divided in 4 parts...

Profession of Faith
Sacramental Life
Life in Christ or Modeling Christ
Prayer...

So, you first have to believe revealed truths and those truths guide you to live a Sacramental life, then you are led to model Christ and in that course you need help and pray.

So, your question has to do with prayer. You are led to pray as part of your belief, Sacramental life and life in Christ....

This comes from the Catechism section on prayer...

If prayer is a response to the calling of God and prayer is asking for help in your Sacramental Life and Life in Christ based on your belief in revealed truths....what are you praying for?

If you accept that Mortal Sin seperates you from God, God still calls and that call is a call to repentance so you can resume

a strengthened profession of Faith
Sacramental Life
Life in Christ
Prayer to accomplish all of the above....

Does this make sense to you...get hold of the Audio Catechism USA for adults and get Catechized....found on Amazon for about $42.00

[/quote]

Yes, it makes sense, but it does not answer my question. I actually own that book already.

I will use a sin I committed as an example. I was supposed to turn in an essay for my English class. I completely forgot about it. So when my instructor asked for it, I told her it was done, but I forgot to bring it. (Lie #1) She said I could email it to her when class was over. I told her I had work right after class. (Lie #2) She said as long as she had it in her inbox before midnight she'd give me credit for it. So I after class, I went back home, typed up my essay, and emailed it to her. So I lied twice, each time knowing I was lying, and knowing that lying is wrong. But I wanted to cover myself rather than getting a zero. The next morning I kept thinking about it and I began to pray, telling God I was sorry and ashamed that I had lied. I asked for forgiveness for my lies and asked Him to forgive me and to help me to always be honest. I also prayed for help to be more organized and to be a better student so situations likes this wouldn't come up again. In addition, I also prayed my normal prayers I pray everyday and for the people and causes that are important to me. Two days later I went to confession and confessed my lies, along with my other sins.

So question #1. Were the prayers I prayed for forgiveness and for help meaningless in the eyes of God because I was in a state of mortal sin?

Question #2. Were the prayers I prayed for others (both living and deceased) meaningless as well? If I was praying for someone who might be in Purgatory, do they not receive the benefit of my prayers because I'm in a state of mortal sin?

I ask these questions because the way Fr. Vincent phrased his answer makes it sound like, "Yes, prayers are meaningless and will have no effect if you are in a state of mortal sin until you actually go to confession."


#9

[quote="michaelmas, post:7, topic:314941"]
.....

As for Mortal Sin,

from the Cat. 1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

This is my personal opinion, but I honestly think that most of us have never committed a true mortal sin. How do you completely consent to turning from God?

[/quote]

It would "like" to believe what you say is true, but to me I cannot, as I believe the church's opinion is different than this.

I do not know exactly, as I am not that learned to have a deep theological discussion. But you almost seem to imply that the catechism defines "complete consent" as some kind of "perfect consent". I do not know if that is what it means.
I do know that this idea, that people committing mortal sins is virtually impossible, is dangerous because of the path is leads to, and could possibly even go directly against the unchangeable teachings of the church.

It almost sounds like we are saved by faith alone with this idea.

For some reason, it seems a risky thing to believe. God is the real judge, I do not want to go to him and argue the point after I die. Confession is necessary.

Does anyone know about this idea, that it is virtually impossible to commit a mortal sin?


#10

[quote="michaelmas, post:2, topic:314941"]
I remember having the same question when I was in the Pius V group and it didn't make sense to me.

The way I see it is if you ask for forgiveness you are forgiven and your prayers are heard. Why would you be praying in the first place if you were not guided by the Holy Spirit? If you were totally in mortal sin why would you care about God?? Why would you want to pray?? I believe you wouldn't, so your prayers are heard.

An aside, I don't think any of us commit truly a mortal sin by definition in the Catechism. We don't know what it is like to be with God in heaven and then to have it taken away. If we did I am sure we would not commit a mortal sin so the full knowledge of our sin can never be attained if we don't know what we are truly sinning against. It is very hard to commit a true mortal sin. That is my opinion.

[/quote]

Good luck with that.


#11

[quote="michaelmas, post:7, topic:314941"]
When I was a young floundering Catholic I was hooked by a group of Catholics who followed the mass of Pius V. This mass was the pass prior to Pius X group. They believed the Pope was not a Pope and that the seat was empty since the time after John XXIII.

As for Mortal Sin,

from the Cat. 1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

This is my personal opinion, but I honestly think that most of us have never committed a true mortal sin. How do you completely consent to turning from God?

[/quote]

In this book, the author kind of says the same thing, that mortal sins are somewhat rare for the average practicing Catholic. I agree, I don't think I ever felt completly separated from God. Not saying I'm not mortally sinning and don't need confession but I think a lot of folks tend to be too legalistic with this stuff.

http://cc.pbsstatic.com/l/25/8325/9780898708325.jpg


#12

[quote="J_Peterson, post:11, topic:314941"]
In this book, the author kind of says the same thing, that mortal sins are somewhat rare for the average practicing Catholic. I agree, I don't think I ever felt completly separated from God. Not saying I'm not mortally sinning and don't need confession but I think a lot of folks tend to be too legalistic with this stuff.

http://cc.pbsstatic.com/l/25/8325/9780898708325.jpg

[/quote]

hello,
What is defined as an "average practicing Catholic"? What did the author mean by this? Out of context maybe?

Also, You said that you never felt completely separated from God. That is because you have never been. If someone were completely separated from God and received no grace, they would cease to exist. If he still willed them to exist and that is all, they would be doing unspeakable things. God still sends grace when we are in mortal sin, he just does not send sanctifying grace, I think.

The statement made by the poster was much more general, in that it would be difficult for anyone to turn away from God, not just the "average catholic."

This idea almost denies freewill.
This guy explains it Read here. agellius.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/is-it-hard-to-commit-a-mortal-sin/
there are also many answers here that explain it forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=175088
Example the church teaches that birth control is a mortal sin. is that not common? Drugs?Fornication? masturbation? murder? Missing mass on sunday for no good reason?

the point is, if you do not go to confession and repent of mortal sin, you are passing judgement on yourself. That is why we have confession, because only God can know if we are culpable for grave matter, and the links above indicate some much different from this idea that it is nearly impossible to commit a mortal sin.

Even if this idea were possibly true, it is very dangerous in that it would lead people away from repentance and confession, and when they die, they might find out this idea was false.

These ideas tickle our ears.


#13

I think this thread is really off-topic now. I didn't ask what a mortal sin is. I already understand the concept.

Please see my second post in this thread for a more detailed question.

Thank you.


#14

Pollynova,

So question #1. Were the prayers I prayed for forgiveness and for help meaningless in the eyes of God because I was in a state of mortal sin?

God always hears our prayers whether in sin or not, and therefore they are not meaningless but rather very important to him. Especially in sin when we pray for forgiveness.

Question #2. Were the prayers I prayed for others (both living and deceased) meaningless as well? If I was praying for someone who might be in Purgatory, do they not receive the benefit of my prayers because I'm in a state of mortal sin?

This depends.

If one makes an act of love for God and tells him they are sorry for what they did because he does not deserve it, then this contrition from love, is sufficient to forgive the mortal sin immediately if the intention is to go to confession as soon as possible. You no longer would be in the state of sin and your prayers would be beneficial to those you pray for. But the person must go to confession shortly thereafter.

If the act of contrition out of love was not made, the common teaching is that they would not be effectual for others tho God may bless you for them in some way if he wants to.

One thing immportant to understand, St. Catherine of Siena, a doctor teacher of the church, said that even tho we may not receive supernatural reward for our good deeds while in the state of sin, she said that God, being all just, would still reward a person in some way for those good deeds. Not a teaching or un-teaching of the church, but that is what she said.

Just some thoughts.


#15

[quote="fred_conty, post:14, topic:314941"]
Pollynova,

So question #1. Were the prayers I prayed for forgiveness and for help meaningless in the eyes of God because I was in a state of mortal sin?

God always hears our prayers whether in sin or not, and therefore they are not meaningless but rather very important to him. Especially in sin when we pray for forgiveness.

Question #2. Were the prayers I prayed for others (both living and deceased) meaningless as well? If I was praying for someone who might be in Purgatory, do they not receive the benefit of my prayers because I'm in a state of mortal sin?

This depends.

If one makes an act of love for God and tells him they are sorry for what they did because he does not deserve it, then this contrition from love, is sufficient to forgive the mortal sin immediately if the intention is to go to confession as soon as possible. You no longer would be in the state of sin and your prayers would be beneficial to those you pray for. But the person must go to confession shortly thereafter.

If the act of contrition out of love was not made, the common teaching is that they would not be effectual for others tho God may bless you for them in some way if he wants to.

One thing immportant to understand, St. Catherine of Siena, a doctor teacher of the church, said that even tho we may not receive supernatural reward for our good deeds while in the state of sin, she said that God, being all just, would still reward a person in some way for those good deeds. Not a teaching or un-teaching of the church, but that is what she said.

Just some thoughts.

[/quote]

Thank you for your response, fred. :)

I was always taught that prayers are never in vain and are always worthwhile. So I was sort of shocked when I read Father Vincent's answer.


#16

And may God have mercy on the scrupulous.


#17

[quote="Miriam1947, post:16, topic:314941"]
And may God have mercy on the scrupulous.

[/quote]

I'm not sure what you mean by that.


#18

Pollynova, About the thread hijacking, sorry, I just could not let those statements go unanswered.

I am glad Fred gave that answer. It really helped me too.

As you already know, never stop praying for yourself and others. I did this because people told me that when you are in mortal sin, God does not hear your prayers. This is when i needed them most. It was the worst thing I failed to do. Thinking that God had left me entirely.


#19

[quote="pollynova, post:8, topic:314941"]
Yes, it makes sense, but it does not answer my question. I actually own that book already.

I will use a sin I committed as an example. I was supposed to turn in an essay for my English class. I completely forgot about it. So when my instructor asked for it, I told her it was done, but I forgot to bring it. (Lie #1) She said I could email it to her when class was over. I told her I had work right after class. (Lie #2) She said as long as she had it in her inbox before midnight she'd give me credit for it. So I after class, I went back home, typed up my essay, and emailed it to her. So I lied twice, each time knowing I was lying, and knowing that lying is wrong. But I wanted to cover myself rather than getting a zero. The next morning I kept thinking about it and I began to pray, telling God I was sorry and ashamed that I had lied. I asked for forgiveness for my lies and asked Him to forgive me and to help me to always be honest. I also prayed for help to be more organized and to be a better student so situations likes this wouldn't come up again. In addition, I also prayed my normal prayers I pray everyday and for the people and causes that are important to me. Two days later I went to confession and confessed my lies, along with my other sins.

So question #1. Were the prayers I prayed for forgiveness and for help meaningless in the eyes of God because I was in a state of mortal sin?

Question #2. Were the prayers I prayed for others (both living and deceased) meaningless as well? If I was praying for someone who might be in Purgatory, do they not receive the benefit of my prayers because I'm in a state of mortal sin?

I ask these questions because the way Fr. Vincent phrased his answer makes it sound like, "Yes, prayers are meaningless and will have no effect if you are in a state of mortal sin until you actually go to confession."

[/quote]

Polly,

Sounds like prayers of repentance and you did.:)


#20

[quote="pollynova, post:8, topic:314941"]

I will use a sin I committed as an example. I was supposed to turn in an essay for my English class. I completely forgot about it. So when my instructor asked for it, I told her it was done, but I forgot to bring it. (Lie #1) She said I could email it to her when class was over. I told her I had work right after class. (Lie #2) She said as long as she had it in her inbox before midnight she'd give me credit for it. So I after class, I went back home, typed up my essay, and emailed it to her. So I lied twice, each time knowing I was lying, and knowing that lying is wrong. But I wanted to cover myself rather than getting a zero. The next morning I kept thinking about it and I began to pray, telling God I was sorry and ashamed that I had lied. I asked for forgiveness for my lies and asked Him to forgive me and to help me to always be honest. I also prayed for help to be more organized and to be a better student so situations likes this wouldn't come up again. In addition, I also prayed my normal prayers I pray everyday and for the people and causes that are important to me. Two days later I went to confession and confessed my lies, along with my other sins.

So question #1. Were the prayers I prayed for forgiveness and for help meaningless in the eyes of God because I was in a state of mortal sin?

I ask these questions because the way Fr. Vincent phrased his answer makes it sound like, "Yes, prayers are meaningless and will have no effect if you are in a state of mortal sin until you actually go to confession."

[/quote]

First of all the sin you commited, was not a mortal sin. You did not take the life of someone, you did not commit adultery or steal from another. Aren't those the "mortal sins"?

You lied which is a venial sin. And of course like I said in my earlier post, when we go straight to God, with contrite hearts, yes of course He forgives us.

Mortal sin separates us from living eternal life with Him in Heaven if we don't repent of it before we die on earth even if we think what we did was justified like in abortion.

Romans, chapter 2, verse 4-5
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance? By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God.

Luke 13:28
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.


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