Yes, more on gradualism
Garrigou-Lagrange reminds us in Reality, that sufficient grace is given to all men, otherwise sin would not be sin. The freedom of the will chooses either sufficient grace to avoid sin and do good. One may look up the many, many posts on this blog on grace and free will.
Grace to make come to pass the excellence of the Catholic life is called efficacious grace, again discussed here many times.
The choice is ours., whether to follow the urging of efficacious grace or not. If one refuses sufficient grace, one refuses efficacious grace as well.
Gradualism denies grace, as noted in earlier posts under the label synod. God gives us the movement of the will to do good actions, and also brings about the good action itself, as nothing good can be done without God's direct will.
However, one forgets, and Garrigou-Lagrange reminds us that impediments stop the flow of grace. We set up these impediments, and one is adultery, or the living in sin with another person rather than one's lawful, sacramental wife or husband. Justice, states Garrigou-Lagrange, demands that God will not give efficacious grace if sufficient grace is refused.
The great Dominican quotes Thomas Aquinas on this interaction of will and grace. “The will is related to things as they are in themselves with all their particular circumstances. Hence we will a thing simply (simpliciter) when we will it with all its concrete circumstances. This will we call the consequent will. Thus it is clear that every thing which God wills simpliciter comes to pass.”
Now, until one is in the illuminative state, that state described by the great saints who wrote about this, such as Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, one does not know for sure if one is a child predestined by grace to be saved. One of the torments of the Dark Night is the doubt of one's own salvation. Again, see my many, many posts on the illuminative state. I refer to it here again because of the confusion in the synod on the nature of grace and free will.
Garrigou-Lagrange, thankfully, as backup for all of us who have written on the synod, writes, “God does not command the impossible.” God has His efficacious consequent will and His antecedent will, the source of sufficient grace.
Here is G-L: “All that God wills, He does. This principle has no exception. All that God wills (purely, simply, unconditionally) comes to pass without our our freedom being thereby in any way forced, because God moves that freedom sweetly and strongly, actualizing it, not destroying. He will efficaciously that we freely consent and we do freely consent. The supreme efficacy of divine casuality, says St. Thomas, extends to the free mode of our acts.”
We does not have to marry someone outside of sanctifying grace. We do not have to stay in an irregular marriage. We do not have to succumb to the pressures of work to compromise our Faith. We do not have to become bitter, unforgiving, angry with God or His Church, and so on.
God's will allows us to respond to grace. Here is Garrigou-Lagrange again on the decisive statement from the Council of Thuzey (860): “Whatever He has willed in heaven or on earth, God has done. For nothing comes to pass in heaven or on earth that He does not in mercy bring to pass or permits to come to pass in justice.
The teaching of the Church tells us God's Will. What God gives us for salvation and beyond, for perfection comes in and through the Catholic Church. Grace is necessary, and gradualism denies this, relying on false ideals of modern psychology and false ideas of cheap grace, that one can flaunt the laws of God in the Church and still be saved.
Does this mean that everyone caught up in irregular marriages cannot be saved? Of course not. Some people choose to live and brother and sister for the sake of the children, not taking part in receiving Holy Communion. Some do make the brave decision to separate, to take themselves out of the way of further temptation to sin.
What is missing from the synodal discussion, besides this necessary teaching of the ages on grace is the nature of real love. The previous posts on St. John Paul II's encyclical reveal what true love is-sacrificial, hard, leading to perfection.
By the way, we do not merit our predestination, it is given. It is grace. Holiness is gratuitous, not earned.
Some people never commit mortal sin in their lives, and this is a mercy, a gift from God.
And, an extremely important note from G-L on disorder. As there is much disorder, or chaos, in the world regarding marriage and so-called ssm, one must know that God does not cause disorder or chaos. The disorder of sin is caused by man himself. God permits human beings to use their free will daily. We choose daily His way or not.
I repeat a bit here, but the gradualists forget four important things about grace and free will.
One, a person wills to be in an irregular marriage, or to leave such.
Free will may be clouded by the passions, but God gives to all sufficient grace to control the passions.
Two, grace trumps nature. If one cooperates with grace, with the mercy of God, one will have clarity of mind and discernment as to what to do in a disordered situation, and the first things would be to repent.
Three, no one in mortal sin can receive any merit or any subsequent or sanctifying grace. One's soul is dead and incapable of receiving grace except for the completely gratuitous prevenient actual grace, which moves one to metanoia. A person must decide to leave the path of mortal sin when offered the grace of conversion.
Four, God is not passive. He gives us opportunities for conversion over and over again.