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Friday, 22 March 2013

On Sufficient Grace--Part Two

Both actual and sanctifying grace are sufficient graces. This is a snippet on the first of two grace types in general; sufficient and efficacious ...........from

Grace: Commentary on the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas, Chapter Six
Rev. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. found here

The division of sufficient grace

Sufficient grace is manifold and involves the following.
1. External helps, such as external revelation, the preaching of the faith, exhortation, example, miracles, salutary trials, benefits, and indeed a certain disposition of events ordained by a special providence toward salvation.

2. Internal helps, which are either permanent (such as infused habits, for instance, sanctifying grace, the virtues and gifts) or transient (such as supernatural movements which excite in us indeliberate acts, pious thoughts and aspirations). Actual and sanctifying grace....

These helps are infallibly efficacious for producing those indeliberate acts, and sufficient for the de-liberate act for which they give the proximate power. These various helps are extremely useful; it is obvious that they render our powers noble and elevated; they are truly sufficient in their order, just as the intellectual faculty is for understanding; and they really confer the proximate power. But they are called merely sufficient with respect to salutary acts which, on account of man’s culpable resistance, are not performed. Indeed, as has been said, grace which is termed sufficient with respect to a perfect act, for example, contrition, is infallibly efficacious with respect to an imperfect act, such as attrition.9  
Sufficient help is divided into remote and proximate. Proximate help is that by which a person can immediately perform a good work, such as the infused habits with respect to their acts, and with still greater reason indeliberate devout thoughts and aspirations inspired by God and inclining toward consent to the good. Remote sufficient help is that by which a person is not yet capable of the act, but can do something easier, for instance, pray, which, if he does it well, will enable him to act, for example, to overcome temptation. The Council of Trent (Sess. VI, chap. II) indicates this difference drawn from St. Augustine: “God does not command the impossible, but by commanding He teaches thee to do what thou canst (proximately suffcient help) and to ask for what thou canst not (remotely sufficient help.)”

The great lie of our time is that people cannot help doing bad things. Either they are mentally ill, in need of healing or simply weak. Free will is denied.

Thankfully, we have a clear teaching on the overlap of  free will and God's gift of divine life-which is grace.

Furthermore, sufficient help is divided into conferred help and offered sufficient help, which we would certainly receive were there not an obstacle. Sufficient help is also either immediate and personal or mediate, for instance, conferred upon the parents for their children who are incapable of receiving personal sufficient help; thus the parents might receive from God the pious thought of the necessity of having their children baptized and not do so. Hence truly and merely sufficient help does not consist in some one, indivisible, definite thing, but in many helps, whether external or internal, permanent or transitory, whereby a man has the proximate power of doing good or at least of praying, and nevertheless resists it.

All of this is commonly taught by Thomists; but in addition reference should be made to the opinion of Gonzalez de Albeda, O.P., in his Commentary on Ia, q. 19, a. 8, disp. 58, sect. 2, Naples, 1637, 11, 85. Gonzalez holds that sufficient grace gives the ultimate completion to the power, or proximate power in readiness to consent when God calls (in fact, it impels toward second act, although it does not remove the impediments to this act); on the contrary, efficacious grace simultaneously moves toward second act and removes all impediments, and hence it is not resisted.

One has a disposition from efficacious grace--whereas sufficient grace moves us, for example, to conversion and further holiness.

Thus Gonzalez still preserves a real distinction between sufficient grace, impelling toward second act, and efficacious grace, surmounting obstacles; and he explains this distinction, not as residing in our free will, but before our consent, on the part of God Himself assisting us. He says (ibid.): “I consider that it ought to be held without doubt that the created will, only sufficiently helped by God, possesses the ultimate fullness of active power and the prevenient concurrence of God. . . . It is otherwise, however, with the created will efficaciously assisted; for the ultimate fullness in this latter case (efficaciously assisted) establishing it finally in first act is more particular and extrinsically efficacious with greater power to incline the will to consent here and now.”
Other texts of Father Gonzalez in the same connection should be consulted. We have examined this theory at length in another work.10 Gonzalez, then, maintains the principle of predilection, namely, no one would be better than another if he were not better loved by God.  Cf. below, § 4, for the value of this opinion; and the excursus on efficacious grace, chap. I.

And, with apologies, the post on efficacious grace will appear later today, as I have come down ill with something--sorry.