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89. Recovery of Virtue by Penance

1. Sins are pardoned through penance, especially by meansof the sacrament of penance. Now, pardon of sin means infusion ofgrace. And from grace all virtues flow. Hence, virtues lost by sinare recovered by penance, and notably by the sacrament of penanceworthily received.

2. A man rises through penance to the virtue he lost, buthe has not always the full strength of that virtue immediately uponregaining it.

3. A man is restored by penance to his former dignity; bythe grace infused, he is numbered again with the children ofGod.

4. If a man with virtuous deeds to his credit commitsmortal sin, his good deeds are rendered lifeless and ineffective,because mortal sin turns the man completely away from God andeternal life.

5. But if a man by penance recovers the grace of God, hisgood deeds, deadened by his sin, come to life again. Hencemeritorious deeds done formerly are revived by penance. The lostmerits are regained.

6. However, good works done in the state of mortal sinhave not any power of merit in them when they are performed. Nor issuch power infused into them when penance restores their author tograce. Dead works (that is, good and meritorious works done in thestate of mortal sin), stay dead. They are not brought to life bypenance.

"When the devil has failed in making a man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so by little and little he gains his end at last."
St Philip Neri

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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