Sunday, 13 May 2018 12:15

The role of the sacraments in the Interior Life

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The elements: actual and sanctifying grace

Actual grace: a kind of divine or supernatural thrust or impetus that allows us to act above our own power. This is because our own natural powers are incapable of attaining supernatural rewards. Prior to the reception of sanctifying grace, we need a special help from God, which is called actual grace.

The elements: actual and sanctifying grace

Actual grace: a kind of divine or supernatural thrust or impetus that allows us to act above our own power. This is because our own natural powers are incapable of attaining supernatural rewards. Prior to the reception of sanctifying grace, we need a special help from God, which is called actual grace. When we think or act in accordance to God’s plan, to what is right, and when we restrain our steps from sin or falsity, this is God working in us and with us, in order that we may act. (cf. Council of Orange, Can. 9)Actual grace: a kind of divine or supernatural thrust or impetus that allows us to act above our own power. This is because our own natural powers are incapable of attaining supernatural rewards. Prior to the reception of sanctifying grace, we need a special help from God, which is called actual grace. When we think or act in accordance to God’s plan, to what is right, and when we restrain our steps from sin or falsity, this is God working in us and with us, in order that we may act. (cf. Council of Orange, Can. 9)

Functions of actual grace: 

  • To prepare the way for the first infusion of sanctifying grace. (Example: when an adult decides to be baptized)
  • To restore to the state of sanctifying grace. (Example: when a mortally sinful Catholic decides to go to confession)
  • To bring about the increase of sanctifying grace by activating the infused virtues of faith, hope, and charity and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (For example: a light bulb has the capacity to give off light, but first must be turned on!) We have these supernatural gifts given to us at baptism, but they need actual grace to be activated.
  • To give the soul the power to resist temptation. 

Sanctifying grace: a free gift from God which actually infuses his life into our soul, but stays only through invitation. Sanctifying grace is unearned or deserved, and makes the Christian into the image of Christ. Thus, the Christian is now able to merit and receive a reward for Christ-like actions. “It is no longer I but Christ who lives in me.” Gal. 2:20. 

The gift of sanctifying grace heals, perfects, and elevates our human nature, allowing us to participate in the very essence of God. “… and become partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Pet 1:4 

Effects of sanctifying grace: We become adopted children of God. 

  • Heirs of his infinite promises
  • Our soul is made beautiful in his sight
  • We become temples of God and temples of the Holy Spirit. 

Sanctifying grace is lost through mortal sin. This is what makes the sin mortal. It kills this life of grace; this life of God, who desires to dwell in our soul, but only by invitation.

Coming up next issue – Merit

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Marlene Mulford

Marlene Mulford, director of the Office for Communications, can be contacted at .

www.dio.org/chancellor