Dennis asked:

Does the Catholic church teach that there is a treasury of merit that is built up by Mary and the saints?

Jimmy Akin replied:

"The Church acknowledges that God blesses some people because other people have pleased Him. The ultimate example of that is Jesus Christ. He blesses us because his son pleased Him. As a result when his son intercedes for us he gives us blessings.

That same principle we also find elsewhere in scripture for example when you have David pleasing God and Solomon displeases Him. God nevertheless tells Solomon that because of David my servant, I'm not going to take the entire kingdom away from you and your descendants, and I'm not going to take it away from you during your life it's going to happen during your son's life. So we see God mitigating a punishment on Solomon because his father David had pleased him.

We see that elsewhere as well. Paul talks about how for example the Jewish people are beloved on account of the patriarchs.

In the same way Catholics understand that Christ as well as Mary and the other saints have done things that have pleased God. And on the basis of those things he gives benefits of various natures to us. Sometimes people will talk about that as a treasury of merit ... It is something that everyone who pleases God contributes to, not just the canonized saints, not just Mary. And fundamentally, and ultimately it's all based on the work of Christ because he is the one who provided an infinite merit and an infinite satisfaction before God and it's on account of that that we are even able to please God. So Christ is the wellspring of all of this ..."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum for Non-Catholics" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2013)

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Show air date: August 5, 2013

Name of show: Open Forum for Non-Catholics

Guest comments by: Jimmy Akin

Question appeared in show: 16:10

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