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Dear Father Angelo
in response to a visitor you said that with mortal sin we lose the sanctifying grace and also the merits accumulated in the past life. This bewildered  me a little.
So, if one commits a mortal sin (obviously later amended in Confession) the “stockpile”, so to speak, of merits is zeroed, as if in all one’s  life up to that moment nothing good has been done. Is that so? Is it a game over? Do you start all over again, with nothing?
What if this person dies after confession, and therefore reconciliation? Would he present himself before God without merit? Reconciled, but without merit?
Here, I would like you to explain it to me better, father.
Thanks in advance for the answer.
God bless you.

1. what you have reported of my statements is not entirely accurate.
It is true that with grave sin the sanctifying grace is lost and with it also the merits are lost.
But it is not true that one who  repented, reconciled and confessed starts from scratch.
The merits are recovered in proportion to the fervor of repentance and the amount of grace recovered.
2. That with grave sin also supernatural virtues and merits are lost is said by the Holy Spirit through the prophet Ezekiel: “ “But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness  they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die. (Ez 18:24).
3. Saint Thomas affirms that with the grace that accompanies penance the supernatural virtues are recovered.
And in this regard he recalls the Gospel parable in which the father commands that the repentant son be clothed “with the most precious garment” (Lk 15:22) which according to St. Ambrose is “the garment of wisdom”, which is accompanied by all the virtues, according to the Scriptures’ words: “It teaches temperance and justice, prudence and fortitude, of which there is nothing more useful in life for men” (Wis 8:23).
Therefore, from penance all the virtues are restored ”(Summa theologica, III, 89,1, sed contra).
4. And since we can fall when we have already reached a certain degree in the spiritual life, then when we start again after sin we are always like an incipient and for this “man even in virtue always rises to a lower degree” (Summa theologica, III, 89,2, sed contra).
5. However, “according to whether the movement of free will in penance is more intense or weaker, the penitent achieves a greater or lesser grace” than the previous one. (…).
Therefore, the penitent sometimes rises with a grace superior to the previous one; sometimes with an equal one; and sometimes with inferior  grace.
The same can be said of the virtues which accompany grace ”(Summa theologica, III, 89,2).6. Not only that, but together with the supernatural virtues, also the merits can be recovered..
Here St. Thomas refers to the prophet Joel, in whom we read: “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” (Gl 2:25).
And he quotes the Glossa  which states: “I will not allow the abundance you have lost to perturb your soul to perish.”
And he concludes: “But such abundance is the merit of good works, which was lost through sin.
Therefore with penance the meritorious works performed before sin revive” (Summa theologica, III, 89,5, sed contra).
7. He brings the reason, then: “because they remain in God’s acceptance.
And in God’s acceptance they remain, even after they have been mortified by sin: because these good deeds, since they  were done, they will always be acceptable to God and the saints will enjoy them, according to the words of Revelation: “Hold steady what you have, because others do not take your crown “(Rev 3:11).
That these good works  are then unable to lead the one who fulfilled  them to eternal life derives from the impediment of the subsequent sin, which made him unworthy of eternal life.
But this impediment is removed from penance because with it sins are remitted.
Therefore, as a result, the works already “mortified” recover with penance the efficacy of leading to eternal life the one who had performed them: and this means that they revive.
Hence, it is evident that the mortified works revive through penance” (Summa theologica, III, 89,5).
8. Therefore, the person who dies immediately after the Confession of a grave sin carries with him the merits to the extent that he has recovered them through the fervor of charity.
9. But, I also wish to say that the merits with which we present ourselves before God are, above all and principally, the merits of Jesus Christ.
Because those merits He puts them in our hands.
And they become ours to the extent that we make them ours with the fervor of charity.
Even our personal merits, without His and without being supported by His, are nothing.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to present the doctrine of St. Thomas which is the doctrine of the Church.
I wish you well, I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.
Father Angelo