DIVINE GRACE (in English)

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#151 Message par InHocSignoVinces » jeu. 25 nov. 2021 11:51

MEASURE OF GRACE

Although all men receive sufficient grace,
not all receive the same amount of grace ;
that is, some receive more grace than others.
Grace is a free gift of God, and hence He
can, without injustice to any one, bestow
it according to His good pleasure. Faith,
however, teaches us that He gives to every man
sufficient grace to reach heaven and be
saved.
In this unequal distribution of grace
God has His own purpose. The end of all His
works is His glory ; and to obtain that
end it is often necessary to give man different
measures of grace.
Without doubt,
Abraham, the father of the chosen people,
had more grace than most of his descendants.
He required more grace in order to make himself
worthy of his calling. Without special grace he
would never have obeyed God to the extent of
being willing to sacrifice his only son, Isaac,
at the command of God. Without an especially
great measure of grace he would never have been
able to believe that he, a poor wandering
shepherd, was to become the father of a
great race. Likewise, Moses must have
received a very great share of grace to perform
the work that God gave him, —that of
freeing God's people from bondage in Egypt.
The same we believe of the Judges, Prophets,
Kings, and especially of the pious
king, David. Likewise, the Maccabees and
the pious mother of the Maccabean brothers
must have received extraordinary grace to
fulfil the commandments of God, and bear
the sufferings they underwent for the sake
of His law.
But the greatest measure of grace
was received, no doubt, by the Blessed
Virgin Mary, since she was called to the
greatest dignity of which any creature was
capable, namely to become the Mother of
God. Hence the angel saluted her, Hail,
full of grace.
After her, the precursor of Our
Lord, St. John the Baptist, received grace
that raised him above all other men ; for he
was cleansed even before his birth, and the
grace which he received made him the greatest
of prophets, of whom Jesus testifies that
there is no one born of woman greater than
John the Baptist. And what shall we say of
St. Joseph, to whose guardianship was committed
the Son of God ? What great graces were necessary
to fit him to discharge the duties of his office
properly, to protect the Word made flesh and His
holy Mother ?
To him must have been given great graces to
make him worthy of holding in his arms the
King of kings, whom many great ones of
the world had desired to see, and saw Him
not. What great measure of grace was given
to the apostles to permit them to be continually
in the society of Jesus, to hear Him
speak, to be His intimate friends ! And of
the apostles, St. John was permitted to rest upon
His bosom, and stand under the cross, and receive
the commission to protect the Mother of Jesus.
If we look over the history of the kingdom of God
from the beginning to the present time, we see that God
has chosen different men to perform different works
of importance.
Now when God
chooses any one for a particular work. He
also gives him sufficient help to perform
this work for which He has chosen him.
Hence men received different measures of
grace, according to the object God had in
view for them.
They that have nothing but
their own salvation to look after may receive
only the ordinary measure of grace which
is sufficient to work out their salvation.



To be continued...

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#152 Message par InHocSignoVinces » sam. 27 nov. 2021 11:51

The measure of grace also depends upon
the time, place, and circumstances. Thus
the Jews who were the chosen people of
God, among whom God dwelt in a cloud,
no doubt received more grace than the
pagans. Among the Jews they that lived at
the time of Christ, and who heard His own
words, received greater graces than the
others. On account of the greater measure
of grace that the Jews received, the
sin of their rejecting Christ was also greater,
hence Our Lord says, " The queen of the
south shall rise in judgment with this generation
and shall condemn it, because she
came from the ends of the earth to hear the
wisdom of Solomon, and, behold, a greater
than Solomon here."
1
Again, Christians
receive more grace than Jews. We live
in the kingdom of grace which Christ
founded with His precious blood. "He
that spared not even His own Son, but
delivered Him up for us all, how hath He
not also with Him given us all things?"
2
He has not hesitated to sacrifice His own
Son; then certainly He will not be miserly
with grace which is so necessary for our
salvation. Hence the Apostle exclaims,
" I give thanks to my God always for you,
for the grace of God that is given you in
Christ Jesus; that in all things you are
made rich in Him in all utterance, and in
all knowledge ... so that nothing is wanting
to you in any grace."
3
Again, " Blessed be
the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus
Christ, who hath blessed us with every
spiritual blessing in heavenly places, in Christ . . .
in whom we have Redemption through His
blood, the remission of sins according to the
riches of His grace, which hath superabounded
in us in all wisdom and prudence."
4
What inexhaustible treasures have we not in
the holy sacrifice of the Mass ? In our
churches Jesus dwells bodily ; in our tabernacles
He is present under the appearances
of bread, ever ready to hear our prayers and
to shower graces upon us. In the holy sacraments
He pours His grace upon our souls in abundance.

The sacramentals, too, are given us to obtain
various graces.
All Christians, however, do not receive the
same measure of divine grace. " To every one of us is given grace according to the
'measure of the giving of Christ."
5 "And He gave some apostles,
and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors."
6
These each receive more grace than the ordinary faithful, according to their office.
But even the graces that the rulers of the flock of Christ receive are for the good
of the whole body, for we are all members of one body, of which
Christ is the head. All have part in the graces of the various members
that compose that body.



To be continued...


1. Matt. 12. 42.
2. Rom. 8. 32.
3. 1 Cor. I. 4-7.
4. Eph. I. 3-8.
5. Ibid, 4. 7.
6. Eph. 4. II.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#153 Message par InHocSignoVinces » dim. 28 nov. 2021 16:08

There are also certain times in which
God is pleased to pour out a greater abundance
of grace. Such times are great feast
days of the Church, —times of penance, such
as Advent and Lent. " And that knowing the
season, that it is now the hour for us to rise
from sleep ; for now our salvation is nearer
than when we believed."'
1 "For He saith:
In an accepted time have I heard thee, and
in the day of salvation have I helped thee.
Behold, now is the acceptable time ; behold,
now is the day of salvation."
2 Indeed, he
who celebrates the feast days of the Church
in the right way, will not be left without
special graces. He will receive the Child,
born in his soul, on Christmas day ; he will
rise with Christ to a new life, on Easter; he
will receive the Holy Ghost on Pentecost.



Our Lord has been pleased to attach special
graces to certain places, such as places of
pilgrimage, where the events of His Passion
and death are commemorated in an especial
manner, or where His Mother is especially
honored, or where the body of one of His
friends is kept and honored for His sake.
In such places God often works miracles,
healing bodily infirmities or granting the
conversion of sinners, consoling the afflicted
and helping the tempted. All Catholic
churches are such special places of grace,
and this is especially true of each one's
parish church. Here Our Lord dwells in the
tabernacle, and invites us, " Come to Me all
you that labor, and are burdened, and I will
refresh you."
3
Many undergo
great dangers and make great journeys in order
to pray in places where Our Lord was born,
suffered, and died ; but we need not go so
far, for a few steps from us He dwells ever
ready to receive us. There in our own
parish church we can speak to Him, tell Him
of our needs, and receive grace in
abundance. If we go to Him with confidence,
we may be sure that He will not let us go away
empty-handed. The parish church
is for every one the best place of pilgrimage ;
for this is the intention of the Church. She
directs the priest to recite the following
prayer on the day of the dedication of the
church, " O God, graciously hear the prayers
of Thy people and grant that all who enter
this temple to ask good things of Thee, may
rejoice in the obtaining of all their petitions."
4
" Let us go, therefore, with confidence to the
throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy
and find grace in seasonable aid."
5



To be continued...


1. Rom. 13. II.
2. 2 Cor. 6. 2.
3. Matt. II.28.
4. Miss, Rom. Com. Dedicat. Eccl.
5. Heb. 4. 16.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#154 Message par InHocSignoVinces » mar. 30 nov. 2021 11:50

Finally, the measure of grace that each
receives may depend on peculiar circumstances.
It may depend on the power of the man to
receive the grace of God. Thus Our Lord tells
the parable of the master that gave to his
servants five, two, or one talent, according
to each one's powers.
Nature goes before grace,
and grace builds on nature. Thus we might
expect that a diversity of grace would come
from a difference in the natural dispositions
and powers of the individuals receiving it.
Likewise, he who recognizes his need
best, and earnestly asks for grace, may be
expected to receive a greater portion than
he who does not.
The Saviour deferred His
coming upon earth, until the time when
the world should have recognized its inability
to help itself. It was only after many centuries,
when men came to the understanding that no
one, except God Himself, could save them from sin and
misery, that God became man. He came
when the yearning of man expressed itself in those
beautiful words, " Drop down dew, ye heavens,
from above, and let the clouds rain the just;
let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour."
1
This grace for which man yearns becomes all the more
abundant, the more he prepares his heart
to receive it. Often, too, a man receives
grace on account of the prayers of others.

So, St. Paul owed his conversion to the
prayers of St. Stephen; St. Augustine, to
the prayers of St. Monica. Others receive
grace on account of the sanctity of the
preacher whose sermons they hear; thus the
first sermon of St. Peter converted three
thousand men.
Another circumstance may
be some special work that God wishes to
accomplish at that time ; thus when He was
founding His Church He poured out the
Holy Spirit more abundantly, as St. Paul
says.
2 This extraordinary abundance of
grace did much to spread the faith in
Christ rapidly.
The same thing happens
today when there is question of converting a new people
to the faith. There is often then an abundance of miracles,
or, at least, a great movement toward the truth
that facilitates the conversion of a great
multitude.
This has been observed, too, in
Christian countries at the time of a mission or a jubilee,
or at the beginning of a new place of pilgrimage.



God gives to every man sufficient grace
to obtain salvation. There are, however,
special times and places of grace, as there
may be special occasions and circumstances
for God to give an extraordinary measure
of grace. "Grace," says St. John Chrysostom,3
" is poured out over all. It does not flee the
Jew nor the Gentile, the Greek nor the
Barbarian, nor the Scythe, not the freeman
nor slave, not man nor woman, not the aged
nor the young."
St. Denis the Martyr says,
"The immense and infinite sea of divine
light is free to all. All can participate in
it."
4 No one is without the grace sufficient
to save him. Just as the sun gives his
light to all, so also God gives His grace to
every one, that all may come to the knowledge
of the truth and possess eternal life.



To be continued...


1. Is. 45. 8.
2. Titus 3. 6.
3. Hom. 7, in Joan.
4. Hier. c. 9.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#155 Message par InHocSignoVinces » jeu. 02 déc. 2021 11:42

XI - COOPERATION WITH GRACE

Can we resist the grace of God ? We can and unfortunately often do resist the grace of God.


Grace is absolutely necessary to man that
he may obtain his supernatural end and be
forever happy in heaven.
Without grace
no one can believe, no one rise from sin and
do penance, no one can begin, continue, or
complete any work worthy of eternal reward.

God gives sufficient grace to all because He
wishes all men to be saved.
No one is lost
except through his own fault.
God gives His
grace to men,
and if they are not saved, the
fault is theirs.
Man is a free agent ; God will
not save any one against his will.
" And we
helping do exhort you that you receive not
the grace of God in vain."
1


When we consider the necessity of grace for
salvation and the goodness of God in distributing
it so abundantly, we should imagine
that men would be anxious to receive it, and
cooperate with it, that they would pray for
it continually and accept it with joy and gratitude.
How can any one reject the grace of
God and refuse to work with it ?
Yet our
catechism tells us that this is possible and
unfortunately happens only too often.



When do we resist grace ? Let us suppose
that some one is in mortal sin, out of a
false shame has neglected to confess his sin,
and now he is going to go to confession. A
voice within him seems to say to him : Now
is the time to confess this sin and free your soul
from this burden ; it will never become more
easy by letting it go, on the contrary the
longer you let it go the worse it will be, and
the more difficult will the confession become;
you must tell it some time or other; do
it right now.
When he comes
to go to confession the false shame overcomes him,
and he again conceals that sin, he commits a
double sacrilege, making a bad confession
and receiving Holy Communion unworthily.

Grace called him ; God enlightened him
regarding what he was to do ; He also offered
him motives to do what was right ; He was
ready to assist him to make a good confession;

but the unfortunate man did not listen
to the inspirations of grace and withstood
the help God was offering him. He resisted
grace.
Had he followed the invitation of
God's mercy, all would have been right ; he
would again have been a child of God.
So
it often happens that men are called by
God's grace to return to Him,
but they reject
the call and remain in their sins.
All
sinners are called to repentance in hundreds
of ways,
but they close their hearts to the
call ; when they hear the voice of God, they
harden their hearts.



To be continued...


1. 2 Cor. 6. I.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#156 Message par InHocSignoVinces » sam. 04 déc. 2021 11:37

Why does God permit men to resist Him ?
Could He not make them obey Him ? God
is omnipotent; He can do all things; He
can also make men accept His grace, and do
His will; but He does not wish to force
them. Why is this? God created man
to His own image and likeness; He gave
him understanding and free will. God
wanted to create a being that would serve
Him of its own free will ; all creatures serve
Him, but they cannot give God the glory
that man can give Him because their service
is a compulsory one.
Free will belongs
to the nature of man. Although our will
was weakened by the sin of our first parents,
it was not destroyed. By grace it is again
strengthened to do good, but its freedom
is not taken away. By grace God does not
destroy His own work, the liberty of man;
but He perfects it, so that the inclination to
evil by reason of original sin may be more
easily overcome. Man has free will ; he can
accept the grace which God offers him, or he
can resist it. God calls man by grace ; He
warns and invites, but does not force him to
do good and shun evil. "Before man is life and
death, good and evil ; that which he shall
choose shall be given him."
1



1. Ecclus. 15. 18.


To be continued...

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#157 Message par InHocSignoVinces » lun. 06 déc. 2021 9:38

That man is free to do good or evil, we can
see from numerous examples in Holy Scripture.

Thus we have in the very first pages of
the Holy Scriptutes the story of Cain, the son
of Adam and Eve. Cain was filled with envy
and hatred against his brother, Abel, because
Abel was pious and good, and for this reason
pleasing to God. This hatred was very sinful
in Cain, and was about to lead him into still
greater sins. Cain began to think of how he
might do away with his brother. God wished
to save him from this great crime, and for
this reason warned him in the kindest manner.

He said to him, " Why art thou angry ? and why
is thy countenance fallen ? If thou do well,
shalt thou not receive ? but if ill, shall not sin
forthwith be present at the door ? but the lust
thereof shall be under thee, and thou shalt have
dominion over it."
1 Cain paid
no attention to this kind warning of God, and
became the murderer of his innocent brother.
And even after the crime was committed God
spoke to him to move him to penance, but
Cain would not confess his guilt, and remained
stubborn. He resisted the grace of God, calling
him to do penance, and that of his own free will,
despite all that God did to bring him to a
recognition of his sin and to do penance for it.



From this example we see that God offers
His grace of conversion to the sinner, that
He calls him, warns him, wishes him to
return, but that He does not take away his
free will. Just as Cain was free to listen to
the warning of God, or to close his ear to it,
so every man has the freedom of his will
and can do good, or reject the grace that
God offers and do evil. God offers His
grace, but He does not compel any one to
accept it. If the sinner neglects the loving
voice of God and persists in his evil ways,
he does so, not because God does not
give him sufficient grace to be converted,
but because of his own free will, which
God will not take away from him.



To be continued...


1. Gen. 4. 6, 7.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#158 Message par InHocSignoVinces » mer. 08 déc. 2021 11:40

That man is free to follow the call of grace or
to resist it, is either implied or expressed in many
other passages of Holy Scripture,
especially
in those which call man to do penance for
sin. Thus when the prophet admonishes
us, " Today if you shall hear the voice of
God, harden not your hearts,"
1 i.e., do not
listen to the call of God as though your
hearts were of wood or stone, but bring
hearts that are receptive, on which the grace
of God can make an impression. When the
prophet says this, he evidently implies that
it rests with us to receive the grace of God or
to reject it; that we can allow our hearts
to be moved by the grace of God, or that we
can harden them, so that grace will be fruitless;

in other words, that we have free will
and that it is not destroyed by grace. In
the same way the freedom of man's will to
cooperate with or to resist grace is implied
in all the exhortations to do penance which
we find throughout the Holy Scriptures. No
one is forced; all are invited. Our Lord
always appealed to the free will of His
hearers when He invited them to follow
Him. " If any one will be My disciple," He
says, "let him take up his cross and follow
Me."
"If thou wilt be perfect," He says,
"deny thyself, take up thy cross daily, and
follow Me."
He does not compel us to
come to Him, but He invites us. We are
free to accept or to reject the invitation.



To be continued...


1. Psalm 94. 8.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#159 Message par InHocSignoVinces » ven. 10 déc. 2021 11:33

It has been this way from the beginning.
The apostles preached the gospel in every
country; some received it with joy, others
rejected it, and continued in false worship
and their evil ways. All used their free will
either in accepting or rejecting the
grace offered them. So St. Peter in his
first sermon on Pentecost said, " Do penance
and be baptized every one of you in
the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission
of your sins ; and you shall receive the gift of
the Holy Ghost. . .
They therefore that
received his word were baptized and there
were added in that day about three thou-
sand souls."
1 No doubt
there were many more that heard his discourse
and did not receive his word. Again when St. Paul
preached in the Areopagus at Athens, and
proclaimed the doctrine of the resurrection
of the dead, many laughed at him ; others,
more polite, said, " We will hear you another
time."
" But certain men adhering to him
did believe, among whom was also Dionysius
the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris,
and others with them."
2


So it has been to the present day. Bishops and priests
preach the word of God, they admonish and
warn, they endeavor to turn men away from
their sins and lead them to penance ; many
listen and turn to God, are heartily sorry
for their sins, and lead better lives; many,
too, persist in their errors and sins. All
are free ; the grace of God compels none so
as to take away his liberty of will. God gives
His grace, but He wants us of our own free
will to cooperate with it.
The same is true of
the graces He gives us by which He speaks,
not through some person, but directly to our
heart. " Behold I stand at the gate and
knock, if any man shall hear My voice, and
open to Me the door, I will come in to him
and will sup with him and he with Me."
3
God wishes to give us His grace, but He
will not force Himself upon us ; He knocks
at the door, leaving it to our free will
whether we will open the door or not.



To be continued...


1. Acts 2. 38, 41.
2. Acts 17. 34.
3. Apoc. 3. 20.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#160 Message par InHocSignoVinces » lun. 13 déc. 2021 11:58

That God does not compel any one by His
grace to do good and avoid evil, so as to take
away his liberty, we can also see by our
natural reason.
Through compulsion God
would destroy our free will; but we know
that we cannot do anything good or bad if
we have not freedom of will. We are not
responsible for things we cannot avoid.
If a man commits murder, he is punished ;
but if it can be proven that he was insane and
hence did not know what he was doing,
and so did not commit the deed of his own
free will, he is not punished for it. Likewise,
if God made us do good acts by compelling us,
so as to take away our freedom of will, we
would not deserve any reward for such acts.

To commit a sin we must have sufficient
knowledge and the free consent of the will.
For a good act that deserves reward, the
same is necessary. If any one is forced by
another to do some good or bad act, he
does not deserve any reward or punishment
for it; the responsibility falls on him that
forced him to the act.



If God compelled men to accept His grace
and so do good and avoid evil,
these good
acts would not be good, or rather they would
be good, but they would not be our good acts,
but God's.
We would not deserve to be
rewarded for them, and thus it would be
impossible for us to merit heaven. Without
freedom of the will it is impossible to merit
anything.
Without freedom of the will we
could not do anything evil; we could not
sin, and hence we could not be punished
for it. God gives us grace to help us do
good and shun sin, but He wants us to
show ourselves faithful to Him, and
so, through the help of His grace, merit
heaven as a reward. For this reason He
does not take away our free will. This
is also what the Church teaches us in the
Council of Trent,
" If any one say that the
free will of man was lost or was destroyed
by the sin of Adam, or that it is a thing that
exists only in the empty name, or that it is
an empty name without the thing signified,
or that it is a mere fiction introduced into
the Church by the devil, let him be anathema,"
1
that is, such a one is excluded from the
Church as a heretic. Again the same holy
Council teaches, " If anyone say that it is
not in the power of man to lead a bad life,
but that the bad as well as the good
works are the works of God, and that, not
only by permitting them, but in the real
sense; so that the betrayal of Judas, as
well as the calling of Peter, are the work
of God, let him be anathema."
2



1. Sess. VI, can. 5.
2. Ibid, can. 6.



To be continued...

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