DIVINE GRACE (in English)

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InHocSignoVinces
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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#161 Message par InHocSignoVinces » mer. 15 déc. 2021 11:19

These decrees were directed against Martin
Luther,
the author of the Protestant Reformation,
who had asserted that by the sin of Adam,
man had lost entirely his free will,

so that he is unable to do anything good
or bad, but that all actions good and bad
are God's, and that man is only an instru-
ment which God uses, just as a carpenter
uses a saw.
It is clear that if that were
true, man would not be responsible for his
acts. We could no more blame a man for
what he did than we blame a knife which
has been used to commit murder. As we
do not think of punishing the instrument
for the crime that was committed with it,
just as little would it be right for God to punish
us, if we were not free in our actions and
were only, as it were, lifeless instruments in
His hands. We would not commit sin, but
God would be the author of all crimes.

What a blasphemy! How would God be
all-just and all-holy, if He were the author
of all the injustice and of all the sins that
are committed? We would not be able to
do anything that is good and worthy of reward.
God could not promise us heaven
as a reward for our faithfulness. There
would be no room for heaven and hell.
Our
own understanding tells us that this cannot
be true, that we have free will, and that we
are responsible for what we do. God created
man to His own image and likeness. Just
as God has intellect and free will, so also
has man. Free will belongs to our nature.
Through original sin all supernatural gifts
were lost;
but those that belong to our
nature, such as the immortality of the soul,
the intellect, and the freedom of the will,
were not destroyed.
Christ redeemed us
from sin, and through the sacraments which
He established in His Church we obtain
again those supernatural gifts of grace which
were lost by sin. In giving us these supernatural
gifts He does not take away those that belong to
us by right of nature, understanding, and free will.
He elevates them, and makes them more powerful.
By actual grace God illumines the intellect, and He
strengthens the will that we see better what
is good and be more inclined to do it.
Grace
does not do all; it helps the natural.
powers of man and turns them to God.
It is called actual grace because it helps us
to act according to the will of God. Grace,
therefore, does not deprive us of our free
will; otherwise our acts would not be ours but God's.



To be continued...

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#162 Message par InHocSignoVinces » ven. 17 déc. 2021 12:48

Actual grace consists in an enlightening
of the understanding and a moving of the
will to know and to do good and to shun
evil. It is true by this enlightening of the
understanding man often clearly sees the good,
but from this it does not follow that he
will do what he understands to be good.
He
will see clearly that his manner of living
is wrong; but it does not follow from this
that he will leave his old ways and be converted.
The scribes and Pharisees could not deny the
truth of Christ's teaching ; He had confirmed
His words by many miracles, and He had told
them, " Though you will not believe Me,
believe the works."
1 But
were they converted ? Far from it ; when
they could not deny the doctrine they killed
the Teacher.
Through the preaching of
the missionaries many heathens have come
to the understanding that Christianity is
the true religion; but they did not accept
it because they did not feel inclined to
change their sinful ways of living. They
"loved darkness rather than the light, for
their works were evil."
2 The same is true
today; many would become Christians if they
did not have to lead Christian lives. Even
among those who call themselves
Christians, but are not Catholics, there
are no doubt many who see clearly that the
Catholic Church is the Church which Jesus
Christ established for the salvation of souls,
but for worldly reasons —for the sake of the
opinion of men, for the sake of money, out
of human respect, etc. —they do not enter
the Catholic Church. God has illumined
their understanding; He has made them
understand the truth, but He has left them
their free will; He has not compelled
them to accept His truth against their will.



To be continued...


1. John 10. 38.
2. John 3. 19.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#163 Message par InHocSignoVinces » jeu. 30 déc. 2021 11:15

The same is true as regards the moving of
the will.
God uses various means to move
the will of man to do good. He arouses in
man the sentiment of fear of punishment,
hope of eternal reward, the sentiments of
love and gratitude ; He has loved us first,
and has showered His gifts upon us in abundance.
Through these sentiments a great force is
brought to bear on the will of man
to do good and to avoid offending so good
a God by sin. Who, when he reads or hears
the words of Our Lord declaring that hell
is an inextinguishable fire, where there is
weeping and gnashing of teeth, does not
resolve to lead a good life, so as not to fall
into so terrible a punishment?
Likewise,
when one hears of the happiness and pleasures
of heaven which are so great that "eye hath
not seen nor ear heard, neither
hath it entered into the heart of man what
things God hath prepared for them that
love Him,"
1 every one is moved to the
resolution to do all in his power to reach
this happy state, where there will be no pain
nor suffering, nor evil of any kind. When we
hear a sermon on the goodness of God, that
He has loved us as His children, even before
we were born into this world ; if we
turn our eyes to the cross and are reminded
of all that Jesus suffered to save us from
sin and eternal death ; when we contemplate
the excessive love of Jesus, shown us in the
Blessed Sacrament ; —our hearts, unless they
be as hard as stone, will be moved to love
Him in return.
As strong, however, as this
movement of the heart to love God and to
shun evil may be, it does not take away our
free will. We remain free to resist this
impulse for good. Do we not see multitudes
of people who, despite the fear of hell
and the hope of heaven, continue to lead
sinful lives? Many there are who care nothing
for the love of God, and who abuse
the gifts He bestows on them, to insult and
offend Him. The great gift of free will
which God gave them to serve Him, they
use in order to sin against Him.



1. I Cor. 2. 9.


To be continued...

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#164 Message par InHocSignoVinces » lun. 03 janv. 2022 22:05

Would it not be better then that men had
no free will, and that God should compel
them to serve Him, seeing that so many
abuse free will?
No ; God willed man to
be free, and what God wills is always best.
God willed to have different creatures, and
in the multitude and difference of creatures
consists the beauty and order of the world.
There are some that serve God necessarily.
The stars of the heavens go their way and
fulfil the commandments of God, but they
are not free ; they cannot do otherwise than
obey the will of God. He has prescribed
their course and established the laws that
rule their motion; they carry out His will,
but of necessity.
So it is with all other
things that have not received intellect and
free will. Besides these creatures God also
wished to have some to serve Him, know-
ing what they do; and He created the
angels and man. God wished to give them
free will that they might serve Him of their
own accord. He gave them free will, even
when He knew that some would use this
gift against Him and refuse to serve Him.
Even at the risk of having some men disobey
Him and refuse His service, He gave
man free will, that some, at least, might
serve Him of their own free will and out of love.

Though our first parents disobeyed Him,
and weakened their will for good by sin, God
helps us by His grace to overcome the weakness
of our will and the inclination to evil; yet
He does not force us to serve Him ; He
leaves us still free. God Himself is infinitely
free and loves to have His children free.
He has commanded us, "Thou shalt love the
Lord, thy God, with thy whole heart."
1 We
could not obey this commandment if we
had not free will. It is true, without freedom
of the will there would be no sin, no
hell; but without freedom of the will there
would likewise be no virtue, no heaven, no
supernatural happiness. It is, therefore, not
better to be without a free will.



To be continued...


1 Matt. 22. 37.

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#165 Message par InHocSignoVinces » jeu. 06 janv. 2022 10:36

But let us suppose that some one despite
all this would still prefer not to have free
will so as not to be able to sin and endanger
his salvation.
To such a one we can say,
you have your free will, you can do with it
what you will. Give your free will to God,
by resolving not to follow your own will, but
to inquire in all things what God wills you
to do. Jesus taught us the "Our Father"
in which we say daily, " Thy will be done on
earth as it is in heaven."
Try to make this
prayer true in your case. Do nothing that
is in the least opposed to the will of God;
let your will be entirely absorbed in His
will; imagine that you have no will of your
own except to do the will of God.
When
you have succeeded in doing this then
you will have obtained true liberty, —the
liberty of the children of God. This is true
liberty, —to be free from the domination of
passion and the evil inclinations of the flesh,
to be able to give one's self unreservedly to
Him, to will nothing but what God wills.
It is the liberty of the saints to will
nothing but good.



After this liberty we must strive ; it is the
liberty of the angels and saints in heaven.
It is true, we shall never reach it entirely
in this world, but the closer we approach to
it, the more pious and the more perfect we
shall be. In heaven we shall acquire it in
its fulness ; there we shall not be disturbed
by evil passions and sins, we shall will only
good and what God wills. The saints, too,
have lived here upon earth; they have
denied their own free will in order to do
in all things the will of God.
Now their
will is entirely united to His will ; what He
wills, they also will ; the prayer, " Thy will
be done,"
is realized in them. - It is to
strive for this liberty that so many men and
women in the Church become monks and
nuns and take the vows of poverty, chastity,
and obedience, that they may become free
from the things of the world, deny their own
will, and do only the will of God. This is what
Our Lord meant when He said, If thou wilt be
perfect, deny thyself and follow
Me.
1



1 Matt. 19. 21.


To be continued...

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Re: DIVINE GRACE (in English)

#166 Message par InHocSignoVinces » dim. 09 janv. 2022 18:54

Instead of resisting grace we must
co-operate with it. Let us see by an example
what this means. A small child is to learn
to walk. The mother puts it on its feet,
but without letting go of it. What must
the child do that it may learn to walk?
Evidently it must do something on its part;
it must try to stand on its feet : it must
endeavor to take steps. If it refuses
absolutely to do anything, it will never learn
how to walk.
So it is with the grace of
God. God does all that is necessary on
His part, but we, too, must do something.
He helps us and encourages us by His
preventing grace; He, as it were, moves
us along and shows us what we are to do.
Man must allow God to help him ; he must
try to do all in his power to perform the
good work.
If man refuses to accept the
grace of God, the good work will remain
undone, and he will have received the grace
of God in vain.



We can see this still more clearly by considering
a few examples of resisting grace,narrated
in the Holy Scriptures,
It was certainly a great
grace to be called to the crib of Our Lord when
He was born. Men had waited for the promised
Redeemer for thousands of years. What a great
privilege it was to be called to see and adore
Him as soon as He was born into the world !
This grace was offered to the wise men from the East and
to some shepherds who tended their flocks in
the neighborhood of Bethlehem. They accepted
the grace of God, and came and found
the Saviour.
Would they have been benefited
by this invitation if they had done
nothing on their part? Certainly not. They
would not have seen the King of kings.
They cooperated with grace. The shepherds
said, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and let us
see this word that is come to pass, which
the Lord hath showed to us;"
1 and they came
with haste. The wise men, in like manner,
when they saw the star, consulted with themselves
to learn its meaning ; they made the
necessary preparations for the long journey,
and did not fear any obstacle ; they despised
all dangers, and did not rest until they found
the Child whom they had been called to see.
Both the shepherds and the wise men found
the Saviour, and were rejoiced by the sight,
because they did not neglect the grace of
God, but cooperated with it.



1. Luke 2. 15.


To be continued...

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