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The Merit of Good Works


Our good works can and do have merit and will be rewarded. The good works may be done either directly for the honor and glory of God or indirectly by doing good to our neighbor, for God regards as done to Himself what is done to our neighbor. Whenever we perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy, while in a state of grace, simply out of love for Christ and not for personal gain, we gain merit. This merit provides satisfaction to Christ. For the performance of every good work involves a certain amount of hardship or sacrifice and consequently self-denial, and this when borne out of love of God compensates for past sins. The Catechism quotes St. John of the Cross: “At the evening of our life, we shall be judged on our love.” Love atones for our sins; perfect love atones perfectly.

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