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Friday, 5 December 2014

On Grace, and Damnation

All humans, each and every person who has ever lived and will live, has been, is and will be given the grace for salvation.


This means that each person in a lifetime, and most likely, more than once, is given light to choose Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Now, the Church teaches that we do not understand necessarily how God imparts this grace, as the normal channels of grace are through the Church.

The brilliant Garrigou-Lagrange has a book on grace, which is found here on line.

I have written a lot on grace on this blog and one can follow the tags and labels.

However, today, because I have been thinking of this for weeks and weeks, I want to share some thoughts on the denial of grace and damnation.

I have been wondering why we do not see many saints in our day and age, except for martyrs.

One knows that St. John Paul II and the Pope Emeritus canonized many saints, but most were martyrs of the Faith from the horrible times of persecution in the past 200 years.

We can understand clearly the response to grace regarding martyrdom. We see Christians being killed almost daily in some parts of the world even now.

But, where are the everyday saints, those who lead us to God by examples and leadership? Where are those like Ignatius, or Teresa, or even the small saints, like Bernadette, canonized not because she saw the Mother of God, but because of her personal holiness?

And, why are there so many people who refuse to follow Christ, refuse to consider religion at all?

Perhaps it is because I take the bus daily to Mass that I see thousands of people who are not Christians, or not practicing Christians. Many friends tell me that their grandchildren are not baptized.

That grace is given is a truth. That grace is deferred or ignored or out-and-out rejected creates tragedies-the loss of people to eternal damnation.

That some people seem to be better than others, seem to be following Christ closely, is attributed to efficacious grace. God puts both the will and the ability of such people to follow Him.

But, that all men are called to salvation, that all are given sufficient grace to be saved seems to be a truth ignored by many. It is heretical to state that God demands the impossible from all human beings.

Trent makes it clear that God helps us not merely in general with grace, but in the particular, in individual cases.

Garrigou-Lagrange quotes Christ, reminding us that He gives us all the necessary grace to repent and follow Him

Matthew 23:37Douay-Rheims 

37 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not?
It is not poverty or hunger, the lack of training or even riches which cause damnation, but the choosing against God. Choice is what we have all been given. We all have free will to decide yes or no, cooperating or not cooperating with grace.
Once a person accepts the grace of conversion, more grace follows. 
I am astounded at the number of people I meet daily who have refused grace. 
Habitual grace is lost when one commits mortal sin. Prevenient grace is no good unless one perseveres.  Garrigou-Lagrange quotes St. Paul as well, but I choose only one of his references here.

1 Timothy 2:4-6Douay-Rheims 

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:
Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.

Garrigou-Lagrange reminds us that St. Augustine taught that hardness of heart may be removed by grace. Many re-verts to Catholicism attest to this fact. We are also reminded in the text that we may beg for more grace in order to live holy, perfect lives.
I am saddened by those who refuse grace. Let us continually pray for God's mercy on those who have said "no" to Him, that they may respond to grace and say "yes".

Read tomorrow's Gospel. What you have been freely given, you should freely share-the good news of salvation.