The Seed of Glory: Catholic Teaching on Theology of Grace Pt. 2.3 – The Nature of Grace

by Aug 7, 20210 comments

2.3 Lawerence Feingold on what grace is and why it is a core part of the Gospel – filial adoption and theosis

Link to the full series of posts here.

Next, I want to spend time on some key ideas about what the nature of grace is from a Catholic perspective and the history of this teaching in the Church. There is so much to say here, but even a quick excursus will help better explain what the nature of what this cardiac righteousness is that I have been saying is the key to unlocking the Catholic view of soteriology – and really what I believe to be a core component of the Gospel.

For a more technical description of grace, here is a summary of Aquinas’ teaching in the Summa on the different aspects of grace:

ST I-II q.110, a.1–2: Grace (or favor) (gratia) can mean either (i) the love which a benefactor has for someone (as in “to be in his good graces”) or (ii) a gift which the benefactor gives to someone gratuitously (as in “he did me a favor”) or (iii) the gratitude that one shows to a benefactor (as in “grace before meals”). The second is the sense we have in mind, though it is important to note that God’s grace, unlike man’s grace, is what makes us lovable in the first place. It is through God’s grace that rational creatures are drawn in a special way, beyond our nature, to a participation in the divine good.

Ontologically, as something existing in a rational creature, habitual grace is a quality of the soul, whereas actual grace is a motion or movement in the soul. Habitual grace is the supernatural analogue of the natural inclinations and desires for naturally attainable good which God instills into every creature. By habitual grace we are disposed for intimate friendship with God. It is this grace that makes us by “adoption” what the God-man is by nature. That is, it is the source of our divine filiation.[1]

Dr. Lawrence Feingold – St. Paul Center

Now, turning to Dr. Lawerence Feingold,[2] we see that grace is the gratuitous love of God poured into us that empowers, enlightens, and elevates human nature to know and love God back.

First of all, grace refers to God’s gratuitous love by which He wills some good for the creature. In this sense, grace is nothing other than the love of God for His creatures, which is the foundation for every gift that is given to the creature. In this sense we can say, “by the grace of God, I am I what I am” (see 1 Cor 15:10). However, although this sense of grace is naturally primary, it is not the principal sense in which we speak of grace in theology, in which the word is more generally used to designate certain sublime effects of God’s love in created persons. In this second sense, we can speak of grace as the gratuitous gift transforming the creature that results from God’s prior love. Both senses are indicated in the text of St. Paul, 1 Cor 15:10:

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me.”

In this sentence St. Paul speaks first of grace in the sense of the gratuitous good favor by which God favored him. This favor of God, however, is fruitful and produced in Paul the gift of the grace of God that is said to be “with him” in an abiding way, aiding him to act through that grace. Thus when St. Paul speaks of the “grace of God which is with me” in the conclusion of the sentence, he is speaking of the gift of sanctifying grace and actual graces which are interiorly received.[3]

The Mystical Evolution In the Development and Vitality of the Church: Volume 2 - Kindle edition by Arintero, John. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @

Very closely related to this infused love from God that we recieve in our adoption is sanctifying grace. We also recieve this grace at the time of our justification and adoption into God’s family. This sanctifying grace really is the essence of cardiac righteousness and is the principle of our spiritual life after adoption. Here is Fr. Arintero, who wrote extensively on the spiritual life, giving a great synopsis of sanctifying grace:

Grace, as the Catechism of the Council of Trent says, is a divine reality which makes man a son of God and an heir of heaven. In this statement is said all that can be said…

Sanctifying grace truly gives us a participation in the divine life so far as it deifies us. It transforms us to our very depths and makes us like unto God as His sons in truth, and not in name only or merely in appearance.1 It is the true divine life (gratia Dei, vita aeterna). So the infusion of this new type of life elevates us in our very being, not merely in appearance. St. Thomas says, “ Vivere in viventibus est ipsum esse.”

Although grace can be called accidental with regard to man, since it can be gained or lost without his ceasing to be what he is, yet in regard to the good Christian, the homo divinus, it is so intimate that without it he is dead and reduced to the level of the old Adam. Grace it is which makes a man a son of God and a living member of Jesus Christ.2[4]

FN: 2 Although theologians maintain that what is in God substantially is in the soul of man accidentally, yet we can say that this “divine being” of grace is something accidental quoad animam humanam, but it is the very life of the soul which lives supernaturally (quoad vero animam viventem supernaturaliter). St. Thomas, In II Sent., dist. 26, a.4, ad lum: “Although grace is not the principle of natural existence, nevertheless it is the principle of spiritual existence whereby the natural is perfected.”

An important idea of grace is its “doubly gratuitous” nature, which is to say that in the first sense, all of creation and existence itself is a gift. In the second sense, sanctifying grace is another free gift given to man to elevate us over our natural state to a supernatural one that is worthy for beatitude with God. God accomplishes this by giving us sanctifyin grace, which creates in us the state of cardiac righteousness, enabling us to know and love God and others in the world around us. We don’t do anything to merit sanctifying grace.

Grace in the proper sense of the word refers to a special gift that is entirely above the nature of the creature, by which the creature is ordered to God’s own beatitude and are made a participant in God’s own inner life. This gift received the technical name of grace, for it is doubly gratuitous. All of God’s gifts are ultimately gratuitous. Nevertheless, some gifts are gratuitous in a double or special sense. The gift of grace, in this precise sense, presupposes the prior free gift of creation and nature, to which it is added as a free supernatural gift: a gift over and above the free gift of creation which is presupposed, a gift over and above anything due to the natural order that has been freely created.

In other words, God’s prior love causes His gifts of being and goodness to the creature. However, there are two distinct types of being and goodness that God can give to the creature. First of all, God gives the gift of being and nature to a thing in creation. This first gift establishes the natural order. On the basis of this first gift, God maintains the natural order and the being of things, making it possible for them to reach their natural end.

Over and above this first gift of natural being and goodness, by which everything is established in its own nature and order, God can give another gift whereby He raises the creature up over the order of its own nature, to make it share mysteriously in God’s own nature, life, and beatitude. In other words, God has the power to elevate the creature over its nature, to make it share in God’s nature. This gift is thus very aptly called supernatural. It is also properly called grace (in the sense of an especially gratuitous gift), for it is absolutely gratuitous with respect to the natural order itself. Creation is gratuitous with respect to the nothingness out of which the creature was drawn. Supernatural grace is gratuitous not only with respect to nothingness, but also with respect to the natural order of the creature already created.

Nothingness can do nothing to merit creation. Thus creation is gratuitous. Likewise, the natural order, once created, can do nothing to merit being elevated to participate in God’s own inner life, for it is infinitely above the proportionality of any creature. Therefore, the supernatural elevation of the rational creature to participate in the beatitude of God is doubly gratuitous, for it is a gift so good that it cannot belong to the nature of any creature (for the beatitude of God is proper and natural to God alone). Why is this? To participate by nature in God’s own inner life and beatitude would imply that a creature is divine by nature, and thus would not be distinct from God, nor a creature.[5]

As just mentioned above, sanctifying grace is very special because it elevates man’s nature. We could never reach the supernatural beatitude with God apart from this grace.

The word “grace” (gratia) comes from the Latin gratis: freely given, and we have seen that grace is something doubly free or gratuitous. The central notion of grace, therefore, is that it excludes the notion of something being due. In order to explain this, St. Thomas distinguishes two ways in which something can be due: either on the basis of nature or on the basis of personal merit? in that a reward is promised to certain acts. Everything that God’s creative wisdom has ordained a species to have is due to it: its properties, natural potencies, inclinations, ends, etc. Natural gifts are gratuitous in the sense that they are completely unmerited, but nevertheless they are due to the nature itself which God has willed to institute. Supernatural gifts are not due in either sense, and this constitutes their special double gratuitousness, on account of which they are given the name of “grace.”

The free gift of the creation of a being with a given nature carries with it something that is due to that created nature, in order for it to be and unfold according to its nature: “To each is due that which is his.”3 Everything that belongs to a nature by the title of God’s idea of it is due to it. This includes what is essentially ordered to it according to God’s providence. The ultimate basis of what is due to a given nature lies in the divine wisdom which instituted that nature according to the divine archetype. That which a given nature requires according to the divine plan, both in essential and accidental respects, is due to a given nature. These things are due to the creature, not because God is a debtor to His creature, but because they are due to the order of God’s own wisdom.5 [6]

Because we could never achieve beatitude in our natural state and require God’s grace, there is no way that God owes us this grace. Our final end without that grace (which still would be impossible to achieve now because of sin, but we can imagine what it would be like nonetheless) would still be a just mode of existence for man. In other words, God doesn’t owe us the beatific vision. But thanks be to God that He redeemed us in the incarnation and offers us the glorious mode of existence to partake of His very nature!

The notions of what is due to nature and grace are illustrated by an analogy that St. Thomas gives of a king who freely wills to make someone a knight 5 On the basis of this prior free decision, the king is now “bound” to provide him with a horse, without which he cannot be a knight. However, he is not “bound” to give a him a horse with a special excellence, or special arms or other marks of distinction, for without these things one can still be a knight. These additional gifts augment the well-being and excellence of the knighthood that has already been willed, but are not necessary for its coherent existence. Thus these additional gifts are given freely, over and above what is due.

St. Thomas then applies these distinctions to the divine will with regard to man. Once God freely wills man’s existence, then what is necessary for man’s nature, and without which it cannot exist, is due to that nature. However, everything that augments his well-being-if his nature can still exist coherently and properly without it-is not willed as something due to man, but is willed “according to pure generosity.”

Once God wills to make man, then reason is due to man, for man cannot be man without reason. Likewise, who could deny that a proportionate final end would be due to him? If he could reach no final end his existence would be absurd and incoherent. The perfection of grace and glory, however, falls into the category of perfections that are maximally fitting to man and immeasurably augment his “wellbeing,” but which are not such that the nature cannot exist coherently and properly without them. Therefore, St. Thomas concludes that grace and glory are not given to man as something due to him, but by “pure liberality.” It follows that predestination to grace and glory is not due to man, but is caused solely by God’s goodness.

Yet how can one define what a given nature demands? The key lies in the notion of proportionality with regard to the principles of the nature and to its active powers. The knowledge of God that is due to the condition of human nature and to angels is that which we can gain through creation. The vision of God can be due only to God, because only the divine nature can be naturally proportioned to knowing Himself. Although this cannot be due to any creature, men and angels are raised to this ineffable dignity by glory.[7]

This doctrine of sanctifying grace/infused grace is so important because it really is the core of the gospel itself. To receive sanctifying grace is to receive a piece of the divine life. We were created for beatitude with God and this is only possible through sanctifying grace, given freely in initial justification and then synergistically increased in our walk in the spiritual life with God towards full beatitude with Him.

Since sanctifying grace is a participation in the divine life, it follows that this grace makes possible an intimate friendship with God which would be impossible without it, for all friendship presupposes a sharing of life with the friend. This is especially true of the spousal friendship proper to marriage, which is a natural image or sacrament representing the union of the soul with God. Without sanctifying grace there can be no sharing of life with God so as to make possible a spousal friendship with Him.’ John Paul has written about this mystery in Dominum et vivificantem 34:

And at the same time that same man in his own humanity a receives as a gift a special “image and likeness” to God. This means not only rationality and freedom as constitutive properties of human nature, but also, from the very beginning, the capacity of having a personal relationship with God, as “I” and “you,” and therefore the capacity of having a covenant, which will take place in God’s salvific communication with man. Against the background of the “image and likeness” of God, “the gift of the Spirit” ultimately means a call to friendship, in which the transcendent “depths of God” become in some way opened to participation on the part of man.

The fact that man is created in the “image and likeness of God” does not only refer to the natural perfection of man. The “image and likeness of God” is an analogical notion with two distinct levels: nature and grace. According to the tradition of the Church, Adam and Eve were created in a state of grace or friendship with God, which can be seen in the intimacy with which they walked with God in the Garden of Eden. Through the gift of grace, man’s likeness with God receives an incommensurate elevation, enabling him to participate in the divine friendship.

Since sanctifying grace mysteriously makes us sharers in the divine nature, it follows that it gives us it a share in the inter-Trinitarian life of the three divine Persons. This manifests itself above all in awakening in a us a sense of our divine filiation, by which we participate in the filial love between Christ and His Father. In the Trinity, the mutual love between the Father and the Son is the source of the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit, who is the personal gift of love of the Father and Son for each other.

In the soul gifted with sanctifying grace, the Holy Spirit is given to us to awaken the filial love of sons for their heavenly Father. In Gal 4:6–7, St. Paul writes: “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.” And again in Rom 8:14–17:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry. “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

In this way sanctifying grace (and the virtue of charity which flows from it) immeasurably and progressively perfects the image of the Trinity in us, by which we are called to filial love of God.[8]

Charity/love is necessary along with our faith to keep this sanctifying grace. God, Himself, is love and is dwelling in us. Without charity, we drive God and His sanctifying grace out of us and end up with a dead faith. We can still have a faith, but because the presence of charity is necessary for it be a living faith, it is logically necessary that we affirm with Paul that justification is faith working through love (Gal. 5:6). Charity makes us friends with God.

The Theological Virtue of Charity

Is our love of God eros or agape, love of desire, or love of friendship? Both aspects must be present. It is natural for us to love God with the love of desire, for we desire to be perfected in happiness through union with God. This corresponds to the theological virtue of hope. Hope is love for God as the object of our beatitude.

Nevertheless, the theological virtue of charity corresponds to the love of friendship or agape. The writers of the New Testament have manifested this in their terminology with regard to love, for they have consciously chosen to avoid the word “eros” (love of desire) and always use the word “agape” (love of benevolence) when speaking of the theological virtue of love for God (charity). In a similar way, the English word “charity” is used to indicate the theological virtue of supernatural love and the acts of fraternal love that flow from it, to distinguish it from other kinds of love.

In common English today, we normally use the word “charity” only in the secondary sense of good works of disinterested love for our neighbor. Nevertheless, we should remember that the principal meaning of the word should be the love for God above all things, which is the theological virtue of charity. “Charity” is our English equivalent of agape, and it means a love of friendship with God, and, for His sake, a love of benevolence for the children of God. This is a teaching that is very profound, although very simple. The love that God commands us to have for Him is a love of friendship, a love directed to a Person. It includes rejoicing in the fact that God is who He is, and in His infinite goodness; and it includes the desire to give ourselves to Him and belong to Him entirely in a spousal and filial way.

It is a mutual love. God has loved us first. Furthermore, there is a sharing of life, although it may seem hard to understand. The life that is shared between God and his adopted sons and daughters is the life of sanctifying grace. By giving us grace, God has given us a certain sharing in his own inner inter-Trinitarian life. It follows that the virtue of charity can only exist in those who are made adopted children of God by sanctifying grace. Charity flows directly from sanctifying grace, and is inseparable from it. Charity, therefore, is something entirely supernatural and produced in us directly by God.18 It is true that in everyday language we speak of charity as if it were something natural: the natural virtue of generosity or friendliness. True fraternal charity, however, differs greatly from natural generosity in its motive. True fraternal charity is always motivated by love of God above all, and directed to our neighbor as a beloved child of God. Someone who fails to see his neighbor as a creature loved immensely by God cannot love him with supernatural charity, although he can be very generous to him. Charity in the proper sense of the word thus always presupposes faith and grace. Charity elevates natural generosity and directs it, as grace elevates nature.

Since charity is a love of friendship with God, it is clear that it is absolutely incompatible with mortal sin, which always involves preferring a creaturely satisfaction to God’s Law, and thus despising God in comparison with the satisfaction that one desires over God. Charity, therefore, must always include contrition for the grave sins that one has committed. Charity, in fact, will include perfect contrition for sin, which is sorrow for offending God, not only because one will be punished or go to hell, but principally because it offends God whom one loves above all things. Without contrition for sin, there can be no communion of life with God.[9]

Here, we see St. Bernard and St. Bonaventure teaching us that Romans 5:5 speaks of God as the substance of charity and the charity communicated to us as the accident that elevates our nature. It is another both/and; God is chaity itself dwelling within us and God gives us the virute of charity. God is uncreated grace in His substance and His charity He gifts us is created grace!

Rom. 5:5. “Charity is called God and the gift of God, for substantial Charity gives accidental charity. When it signifies the Giver, it is called substantial Charity; when it signifies the gift, it is called accidental” (St. Bernard, Epist. 11 ad Guidon, no. 4).

“In justification a double charity is given us, created and uncreated; the one by which we love, the other by which we are loved” (St. Bonaventure, Comp. them, verit., Bk. I, chap. 9).

A very brief synopsis of the infused vs imputed righteousness debate at the Council of Trent

With that background on the nature of grace in mind, I think this is good place to point out a few things as to why the Council of Trent declared infused grace is the formal cause of justification over the imputation model offered by the Reformers.

For many reasons, the book Engrafted into Christ by Dr. Christopher Malloy is still my favorite book to recommend to anyone looking to dive deeply into this topic of justification. One is it explains the teaching of the Catholic view of justification in technical, yet clear language, along with the Lutheran positions. In addition to this, it also does a brilliant job giving a detailed account of key theological discussions leading up to and during the Council of Trent. I certainly recommend that work here again if any of that may be of interest.

I recently found this summary in a section from the book History and Theology of Grace by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. which gives a very good high level summary of one of the key debates that happened at the Council of Trent that I think is helpful for this discussion. I think this is important because we see that infused grace was clearly known to be one of the major points of disagreement between the Reformers and the Church. The Church Council Fathers expended a lot of time and effort to see where God was leading His Church on these matters; they didn’t just dismiss the Reformers position without consideration. They even looked at a middle way position called “double justice”. Ultimately, Catholics believe that God spoke through the Council and guided the Church into what I now see as the most precise formulation of justification that the Church has ever produced. It is a formulation that is both saturated with the teachings of Scriptures, but also seems most inline with the traditions of the Church.

Spiritual Rebirth

In meeting the challenge of the Reformed teaching on justification, the Council of Trent ranged through both Testaments of Sacred Scripture as well as both Western and Eastern patristic traditions It took more than passing cognizance of the scholastic developments incorporated in the writings of St. Thomas, and used the whole corpus of ecclesiastical documentation, conciliar and papal, to an extent previously unknown in any Council of the Church.

Decree on Justification.

Preparatory to its sixth session, which opened in January, 1547, the Council impressed upon the assembled bishops and theologians the importance of studying the problem of justification from both sides, i.e., from the side of the Reformers and of Catholic tradition. The delegates were instructed to read Protestant writers with impartiality, so they could censure what they considered erroneous but also approve what deserved approbation. After private conferences, the theologians were to submit their opinions to the Fathers of the Council, who would discuss what was submitted and individually state their judgments. Finally a preliminary set of decrees was drafted, which underwent numerous revisions before voting. To the very end there were changes in wording, deletions and additions to produce the masterful Decretum De Justificatione, whose Proemium, Chapters and Canons are the most authoritative declaration of Catholic thought we have on the subject.

The cardinal issue on the nature of justification was the familiar Protestant theory that when a man is justified two things happen to him. His sins are forgiven in the sense that they are covered over and not imputed to him, while internally he remains a sinner: And positively the justice he “acquires” is not his own as something inhering in his soul; but the alien justice of Christ or of God which is credited to him without being really his.

Trent defined justification as “a passing from the state in which man is born a son of the first Adam, to the state of grace and adoption as sons of God (Romans 8:15), through the second Adam, Jesus Christ our Savior.” [14]

There is no doubt, therefore, that justification implies the remission of sins, as a true, internal and unequivocal removal, and not a mere covering-over. The year before, and four months after Luther’s death, Trent had defined that through the grace of baptism “everything having the true and proper nature of sin is taken away,” and not “only brushed over (radi) or not imputed.” [15] This is not to say, as Barth insinuated, that forgiveness means “to make what has happened not to have happened.” [16] It means that the guilt and stain of soul contracted by sin are completely taken away. There is also a sense in which our sins are no longer imputed to us, once we receive grace, for the good reason that the sins are gone; which is quite otherwise than the non-imputation of guilt for a sinful condition that still perdures.

What sins are removed by justification? If baptism is received, all sins are deleted: original and personal, mortal and venial. If remission takes place through the sacrament of penance or by an act of perfect love, the amount of venial guilt remitted depends on a person’s dispositions.

However, this is only the beginning. Besides remission of sins, when a person receives sanctifying grace there is also “sanctification and renovation of the interior man.” [17] No doubt the forgiveness of sins is also a kind of renewal, which theologians call negative or moral, since a defect is cleared away and the person becomes morally clean. And there is more. Renovation in the Tridentine sense means a positive and physical change in the soul “through the voluntary reception of grace and gifts.” [18]

It may seem like theological hair-splitting to insist there is no middle ground between intrinsic and extrinsic justification, except that the question was one of the most heatedly discussed at the Council of Trent and is currently of major importance in the ecumenical movement, where some sort of compromise is sought between Catholic and Protestant theologies of grace.

Among the proponents of the via media were Martin Bucer (1491–1551) among the Protestants and Cardinal Seripando, Master General and zealous reformer of the Augustinians. Seripando ardently advocated his theory before the Council of Trent [“double justice” – that there are 2 formal causes in justification, both external imputed righteousness and internal infused righteousness], in the laudable effort to meet, if possible, the Reformers half way. He said there were two kinds of justice, one intrinsic and the other extrinsic. In virtue of the former we pass from the state of sinners to that of children of God, and are enabled to practice good works with the help of divine grace. The latter is not intrinsic to us but belongs to Christ alone. It consists of His justice and merits, which He imputes to us as though they were ours, according to His own good pleasure. He felt the first without the second is imperfect and insufficient to make us reach heaven.

Only a handful of theologians (five to be exact) approved Seripando’s theory, that to obtain eternal glory the justice of Jesus Christ must be imputed to us. Everyone else was against the idea, and particularly James Lainez of the Society of Jesus, who produced a long reply. Seripando’s critics explained there are two kinds of causes: one type produce and effect but is not needed to keep the effect in existence and operation, like the father whose son can live quite independently of his parent. Another kind is continually required to preserve what it produces, as light is constantly dependent on the sun. Our need of God belongs to the second class, since we depend on Him absolutely in every aspect of life, whether in the temporal or supernatural order. Accordingly there is no call for imputing the merits of Christ to us, over and above the intrinsic effect produced in the soul when grace enters. The same intrinsic justice which is the effect of Christ’s merits makes us rise from sin and gives us power to perform acts of virtue that are meritorious of heaven. All of this follows on the strength of God’s promise in consequence of the passion and death of the Savior.

Briefly stated, therefore, the sanctifying grace which God infuses into our souls perfectly applies to us the merits of Christ through a constant and perennial inflow in our favor. Hence the Tridentine declaration that “the one and only (unica) formal cause” of justification “is the justice of God, not by which He is Himself just, but the justice by which He makes us just, namely, the justice which we have as a gift from Him, and by which we are renewed in the spirit of our mind.” [19] Any compromise with this intrinsic rebirth would deprive us of merit in the spiritual life, make satisfaction and reparation for sins impossible, and subvert a cardinal principle of Catholicism, which holds that we have been truly elevated to a supernatural order of reality which is physically inherent to our being and is not a mere putative declaration.

Protestant theologians sincerely concerned to bridge the gap with the Catholic Church feel that we misunderstand them when, in spite of their readiness to admit some kind of internal righteousness, they refuse to let go of the idea of imputation. K.E. Skydsgaard, for example, is an outstanding Danish Lutheran who has done yeoman work in the ecumenical movement, but he is bewildered by Catholic intransigence.

Roman theology often misunderstood the Evangelical point of view. The accusation is made that, according to the Evangelicals, righteousness is nothing more than an “imputed” righteousness, which does not penetrate into the person but only clothes the man as a coat. It is laid upon him without the slightest consequence in him.

This cannot possibly be accepted as a correct description of the Evangelical position. God forgives sinners. This must be understood absolutely literally, and if this were not true, then everything else would be vain. This forgiveness has its root and its power in God’s mercy alone, in His grace. That man whose sins are forgiven by God remains a sinner as long as he is on earth. [20]

The last sentence is the “give away.” It reveals that no matter what protestations are made that righteousness means forgiveness and does not mean only imputation, in the last analysis Evangelical theory leaves the justified man still in his sins and does not renew him to the marrow of his spiritual being.

There is no mistaking what Trent had in mind by this intrinsic change. Those who are justified are sanctified “through the voluntary reception of grace and gifts.” [21] No one can be just unless he shares in the merits of Christ’s passion, whereby “the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who are justified and remains (inhaeret) in them.” So that, at the same time as his sins are remitted, “a man receives through Jesus Christ to whom he is joined, the infused gifts of faith, hope and charity.” [22] Consequently the justice we possess “is said to be ours because it inheres in us,” and because God “has poured it into us through the merit of Christ.” [23] Then the Council Fathers summarily censure anyone who says that “men are justified either through the imputation of Christ’s justice alone, or through the remission of sins alone, excluding grace and charity which is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and inheres in them, or also that the grace which justifies us is only the good will of God.” [24][10]

Next up, we will continue with a look at the nature of grace, but from a more spiritual theology standpoint.

5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Blog End

  1.  ↩
  2. I highly recommend checking out Lawerence Feingold. He is one of the better modern Catholic Theologians with a very deep Thomistic background. He is very in-tune to the Jewish roots of the faith (comes from a jewish background, himself) and has a ton of free lectures on his website. Hours and hours of great content!  ↩
  3. Feingold, Lawerence. AHC Lecture Series 9: Man Elevated to Share in the Divine Life Lecture 5: The Mystery of Grace. p. 3  ↩
  4. Arintero, Fr. John G. O.P. The Mystical Evolution in the Development and Vitality of the Church. P.67  ↩
  5. Feingold, Lawerence. AHC Lecture Series 9: Man Elevated to Share in the Divine Life Lecture 5: The Mystery of Grace. p. 3–4  ↩
  6. ibidl. p. 4  ↩
  7. ibid. p. 4–5  ↩
  8. ibid. p. 5  ↩
  9. ibid. p.7–8  ↩
  10. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. History and Theology of Grace Chapter IV Sanctifying Grace  ↩

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Fullness of the Truth Pt. 7: Bibliography

Fullness of the Truth Pt. 7: Bibliography

Link to the entire series of posts Works Cited/Suggested Resources How the Natural Law Lead Me to the Catholic Church An introduction to ethics: A natural law approach by B. Besong. Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide, Edward Feser The Last Superstition, Edward Feser Five...

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