Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Grace of God

1. God has endowed us with wonderful corporal and spiritual gifts, creating us after His own image with powers of intellect and of will. More than this, He has raised us to the supernatural order by communicating to us His grace, which enables us to live His own life and to share in His divine nature as His adopted sons.

Grace is the greatest gift which God has given us. It enlightens our minds and moves our will to obey His commands and to perform actions which merit an everlasting reward. It is an entirely supernatural and gratuitous gift. For this reason we cannot merit it, but we should continually pray for it because it is absolutely necessary if we are to do good and to merit Heaven. Our first ancestor, Adam, was endowed with this gift by our Creator. Unfortunately, by original sin he lost it for himself and for his descendants.

We cannot complain to God about this loss, since grace is an entirely supernatural gift which is in no way due to our human nature. For the same reason we cannot merit it on our own. But God, being infinitely good as well as infinitely just, sent His only begotten Son to redeem us from sin and to grant us His friendship once more.

We should be very grateful to God for this extraordinary favour and should unite our efforts to the divine action of grace in the performance of good works which will enable us to merit everlasting life.

2. It is astonishing to consider how much St. Paul accomplished when he had been transformed by the grace of God. Formerly a persecutor of Christians, he became the Apostle of the Gentiles. Enlightened by faith and inspired by charity, he travelled the globe spreading everywhere the religion of Jesus Christ.

He feared neither the anger of the hostile Jews nor the tribunals of the Roman judges, neither long and difficult journeys nor scourging, shipwreck and imprisonment. The love of Christ impels us, (2 Cor. 5:14) he said. It was the love of God which drove him on and on until he met his martyrdom. But what about ourselves? We also have received grace from God. Often we hear His voice appealing to us to abandon our sinful ways, to practise virtue, to love Him more ardently and to prove our love by deeds. If we co-operate, we shall be able to say with St. Paul:by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace in me has not been fruitless, (1 Cor. 15:10) and I have labored . . . yet not I, but the grace of God with me. (Ibid.)

It is wise to recall, however, that Judas also received special graces from God. He did not correspond with them and was probably damned for eternity. If we fail to correspond with God's graces, the result will be tragic for ourselves.

3. Be not silent; Lord, be not far from me. (Ps. 34:22)

It is never really God Who is silent. He is forever appealing to us to lead good lives. He is never really far from us, but is always ready to bestow His gifts on us. Even when we have sinned, we hear His voice prompting us to thoughts of remorse. Even when we stray away from Him, He follows and asks us to return to Him. It is we who must ensure that the noise of the world will not prevent us from hearing His fatherly appeal, and that sinful temptations will not destroy His influence over us.

Let us continually implore His graces because we are always in need of them. Let us use them well so that they will enable us to gain everlasting life.