Satisfaction for sin
#1
I have a question  about penance and making satisfaction for sin.  I noticed  instances in the Old Testament of people doing penance for sins or fasting for departed souls.  I thought that it was in virtue of the Cross that we can make satisfaction [ as much as we are able ] for sin. In the Old testament , Christ has not died yet. Am I missing something?
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#2
I think it's similar to the sacrifices that God commanded be offered for particular sins in the OT. First, they had  a pedagogical purpose--they taught the people about sin and justice, etc. Second, while these acts could not actually atone fully for sins, they did a little and they also were a demonstration of contrition and charity for God and neighbor. I am sure this was taken into account by Christ when He descended to the dead to lead the just into Heaven. Anyway, those are my thoughts.
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#3
(03-09-2011, 08:39 AM)SaintSebastian Wrote: I think it's similar to the sacrifices that God commanded be offered for particular sins in the OT. First, they had  a pedagogical purpose--they taught the people about sin and justice, etc. Second, while these acts could not actually atone fully for sins, they did a little and they also were a demonstration of contrition and charity for God and neighbor. I am sure this was taken into account by Christ when He descended to the dead to lead the just into Heaven. Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Seconded.  Also, be aware that those faithful Jews before Christ were expecting that a Messiah would come who would overturn sin and right Israel's relationship with God.  It seems quite possible that their acts of contrition found merit through Calvary even though it had not yet come, just as their faith brought them salvation through Calvary, even though sanctifying grace could not be properly applied before the Crucifixion.
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#4
St. Thomas says:

"...the Fathers of old were justified by faith in Christ's Passion, just as we are. And the sacraments of the old Law were a kind of protestation of that faith, inasmuch as they signified Christ's Passion and its effects. It is therefore manifest that the sacraments of the Old Law were not endowed with any power by which they conduced to the bestowal of justifying grace: and they merely signified faith by which men were justified."

Summa Theologica  III Q62 A6 (I answer that).  See the whole article: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4062.htm#article6
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