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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Knowledge of Divine Things Part Six

Before looking at the encyclicals, one must look at certain definitions. Garrigou-Lagrange defines the types of grace in excellent terms. One of the fallacies of the Synod discussions, is that God is asking the impossible by insisting on true marriage. In other words, the teaching of the Church that God does NOT ask the impossible is purposefully overlooked. Here is some of the great Dominican's explanations of Thomas Aquinas for us. A italics are from Garrigou-Lagrange:

Habitual grace is a supernatural gift of God inhering in the soul.

1. Proof from Scripture. “I will pour upon you clean water” (Ezech. 36:25). (Grace is thus referred to metaphorically, in the New Testament as well: cf. John 4:13.) The following verse continues: “And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you” (Ezech.  36:26). “He hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4). “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rom. 5:3). “Neglect not the grace that is in thee” (I Tim. 4:14). “I admonish thee, that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee” (II Tim. 1:6). “Whosoever is born of God, committeth not sin: for His seed abideth in him” (I John 3:9). “Who also hath sealed us, and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts” (II Cor. 1:22). “Whosoever drinketh of this water, . . . the water . . . shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting” (John 4:13 f.).
As for the teaching of the Fathers, Rouet de Journel (Enchiridion patristicurn, theological index, nos. 354-65) sums up their testimony according to the writings of each of them: the abiding, supernatural gift of habitual grace is infused in justification; sins are really removed; man is interiorly renewed; the Holy Ghost dwells in him; he is made a partaker of the divine nature, an adopted son of God, an heir to the kingdom of heaven, a friend of God; habitual grace ejects mortal sin. Man can never be certain of being just or in the state of grace. The just can merit eternal life.
Hence the Council of Trent declares (Sess. VI, can. 11, Denz., no.  821): “If anyone should say that men are justified either by the imputation of Christ’s justice alone or by the remission of sins alone, exclusive of grace and charity, which are diffused in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and that it inheres in them, or even that grace, by which we are justified, is only a favor from God: let him be anathema.” Cf.  also Council of Trent (Denz., nos. 799 ff ., 809).1

Immediately, we see that habitual grace, faith, hope and charity are given in baptism to those justified through that sacrament. All Catholics, therefore, have what they need to get to heaven, and not to sin mortally.

Grace alone makes us pleasing to God. Some of this is a repetition of what is in my series on this blog on grace.

What makes us pleasing to God is that which is really produced in us by the uncreated love of God for us. But grace is what makes us pleasing to God as children and heirs.  Therefore grace is that which is really produced in us by the uncreated love of God for us.

... it follows that grace is in us a supernatural gift of God inhering in the soul, by which we are truly children of God, born of God, and participators in the divine nature. Thus the love of God is effective in the supernatural as it is in the natural order. And grace generally signifies this gift habitually abiding in the soul, as often referred to by St. Paul. 

Nevertheless, as St. Thomas observes in concluding the body of the article, grace sometimes denotes that very eternal, uncreated love of God, so that accordingly even predestination is called grace, “in that God predestined or elected some gratuitously and not because of merit, for it is said to the Ephesians (1:5): [He] ‘hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children . . . unto the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He hath graced us in His beloved Son’”; that is, unto the manifestation of the diffusion and splendor of His uncreated grace, by which we are made pleasing to God in His Son.

If one is participating in the uncreated love of God, and if this love is effective in both the supernatural and natural order, the baptized can avoid serious sin and make the "right choices" for life.

Actual grace is created. Here is Garrigou-Lagrange again.

Therefore actual grace is something created, as an effect of God, according to St. Thomas (he does not say that actual grace is our action, our vital operation), and it is in us as a motion-passion received in the will, by which the will is moved to elicit its operation.

Grace moves the intellect which moves the will. Motion-passion by which the will is moved, or is made to pass from the potency of willing into the act of willing, is the completion of causality, referred to by St. Thomas (Contra Gentes, Bk. III, chap. 66).

Now, actual grace is not habitual. Habitual grace, unless removed by mortal sin, is permanent. Actual grace is not.

Sanctifying grace is "a permanent quality, as has been shown; moreover it is difficult to dislodge, as far as itself and its principles are concerned, supported as it is by the divine infusion, and indeed being in the spiritual soul the very seed of glory, or life eternal already begun; it is therefore difficult to dislodge, although accidentally, by reason of the subject and of the aberrations and caprices of its free will, it can be lost. “For we carry this treasure in fragile vessels.” (Cf. De veritate, q. 27, a. 1-9.)3 Finally it disposes the subject in a good, or favorable, state toward God and for avoidance of sin. But in the following article, where habitual grace is distinguished from charity, we shall see that the former is an entitative (as he says earlier, health beauty) and not an operative habit, except radically."

Sanctifying grace is the principle of the sanctification of the just, whether men or angels, so is the sacramental grace of baptism the principle of Christian sanctification, and the sacramental grace of holy orders the principle of sanctification of priests who re the ministers of Christ.

Why these definitions are important today is that many people are denying these categorically.

More here: sanctifying grace is more that the virtues given at baptism.

St. Thomas’ conclusion is that sanctifying grace is something beyond the infused virtues which are derived from it, just as the natural light of reason is something beyond the acquired virtues derived from that light.
1 . Scriptural proof. Holy Scripture speaks of grace and of charity as of two separate things. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God” (II Cor. 13:13). “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rom. 5:5); but He is given to us through grace, by reason of which He dwells in us. “The grace of our Lord hath abounded exceedingly with faith and love” (I Tim.1:14).
Likewise the Council of Vienne (Denz., no. 483) speaks of the baptized as those to whom “grace and the virtues” were imparted.  The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, can. 7, Denz., no. 799) declares that “the renewal of the inner man is brought about by the voluntary acceptance of grace and the gifts”; canon II (Denz., 821) defines “man as not justified without grace and charity.” Moreover, in this sense the mind of the Council is interpreted by the Catechism of the Council (part 2, “Baptism,” chap. 38) wherein sanctifying grace is described, while not yet speaking of charity, and then (chap. 39) it is declared: “To this is added the most noble train of all the virtues, which are infused in the soul together with grace.
St. Augustine speaks in the same strain as quoted in the argument Sed contra (De dono persever., chap. 16): “Grace precedes charity.” But no reason can be adduced to explain why Holy Scripture, the Councils, and the Fathers, referring to a matter of dogma, should always understand one and the same thing under diverse names; it would be, at least, useless repetition; and since it occurs frequently, we may draw from these authorities, at least as more probable, the opinion that grace and charity are really distinct.

But and here is the key point for those who are in irregular marriages, charity, which is true love, only comes from and through grace. Those without grace, who because they are in mortal sin cannot receive sanctifying grace, do not have what is needed for the marriage contract.

As Aristotle notes, a virtue is a disposition of perfection and the Church tells us that the virtues flow from sanctifying grace.

Here is G-L again, Grace is a participation in the divine nature; charity is a participation in the divine will.

Now, if I had time, like a semester of teaching, I could add several "classes" on what the divine nature is that one in grace is participating in. But, to simplify, one can emphasize "charity is the participation in the divine will". Without the virtue of charity, one is not uniting one's will with God's will. 

Habitual grace, states Thomas, is enough to keep us from sinning. That Christ has merited all the grace for us, He gives these to us in order for us to become divine (divinization).

But, sanctifying grace is "over and above" in addition to habitual grace. I shall come back to this later.

G-L notes: The soul is the subject of grace, since it resides in a species of intellectual nature, or in the intelligent soul, although the infused virtue of chastity is in the sensitive appetite. 

If one is in grace, one does not have to sin, and sin is a choice. It is interesting that the point on the infused virtue of chastity is in the sensitive appetite. Thus, God is not asking the impossible.

Back to sacramental grace, also called sanctifying grace:

According to IIIa, q.62, a.2: “Sacramental grace adds, over and above [habitual] grace generally so called and above the virtues and gifts, a certain divine help toward the attainment of the end of the sacrament.” In the reply to the first objection of the same article St. Thomas maintains that “the grace of the virtues and gifts perfects the essence and powers of the soul sufficiently with respect to the general ordering of the acts of the soul (so it was in Adam before the Fall and in the angels in whom did not reside Christian grace strictly speaking, which was conferred upon men by Christ the Redeemer). But with respect to certain special effects which are demanded by a Christian life, sacramental grace is required.” Thus it may also be said that in the angels and in Adam before the Fall there resided supernatural grace, as a participation of the divine nature, but not however as Christian grace proceeding from Christ the Redeemer and forming souls in the image of Christ crucified. 

Sacramental grace is not a new infused habit really distinct from habitual grace, but it adds over and above ordinary grace a certain right to actual graces to be received at the appropriate time and corresponding to the special end of the sacraments; for example, the grace of holy orders confers the right to the actual graces necessary to celebrate Mass. And this moral right is a relationship which requires a real basis; the real basis is sacramental grace, properly speaking, inasmuch as it is really permanent in the soul. And the more probable opinion, as Thomists assert, is that it is a special mode and a special force of sanctifying grace, which overflow into the acts of the virtue. (Cf. St. Thomas, De veritate, q. 27, a. 5 ad 12.) Thus we speak of priestly charity, of priestly prudence. John of St. Thomas, the Salmanticenses, Contenson, Hugon, Merkelbach, and several other Thomists accept this explanation.

Can we not see how some of the Synod fathers either do not know these definitions of grace, or chose to ignore them for reasons unknown?

The grace of a sacrament is fitting for that state-and graces are given in the sacrament of matrimony. 

May I add that, of course, as noted by G-L, animals do not have grace, nor do they have the intellective faculties to chose. To compare human activities or relationships with those of the other, lower animals constitues a fallacy.

By the way, as noted in the series on grace, all grace is gift, and especially the "first sanctifying grace" and the last grace "final perseverance" are not merited at all by humans.

Grace to persevere in good actions all of one's life is not merited, either. But, that will be further discussed in the section on the division of grace later.

Needless to say, the denial of grace is actually the heresy of Jansenism. This is key for readers to know when trying to understand what is going on at the Synod.

Jansenism denies that free will cooperates with grace.

This notion is mentioned in a post here yesterday. In other words, this fallacy that the will is taken over by grace and the Holy Spirit without the assent of free will, seems to be an operative heresy in some of the bishops in the Synod. We refuse or assent to grace.

Thus, the giving of Communion to those is irregular marriage denies that they have been given grace to repent. Or, this stand denies that people have free will and are merely slaves to their passions.

G-L notes: St. Thomas says (De verit., q.27, a.I ad 9): “Although by one act of mortal sin grace may be expelled, grace is not, however, expelled easily; for it is not easy for one who possesses grace to perform such an act, on account of the inclination in a contrary direction; thus the Philosopher says in his Ethics, Bk. V, chap. 6, that it is difficult for the just man to commit an injustice.”

Of course, when one is in mortal sin, it is much more difficult to turn back to God, but not impossible. One cannot receive the grace of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist if one is in mortal sin. I shall return to this topic.


God does not ask the impossible.

to be I am moving on to the intellect's role, and then to the encyclicals.