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Sunday, 7 April 2013

On grace and free will again

One of the themes of this blog has been the interaction of grace and free will. Thankfully, we have a long tradition of the writings of the Doctors of the Church and others on this subject.

The reason I bring it up again is that there seems to be a growing confusion on free will, the gift which makes us like God.

We were created in His image and likeness, the image being freedom and the likeness being grace. We lost the grace through Adam's sin, but kept the image, of course.

The goal of every Catholic is to regain that image, to put on the Mind of Christ and conform one's self to the teachings of the Church. Why? It is only in the Church that we have the fullness of Truth, the way to heaven and the greatest gifts of the sacraments.

If others are saved, and they are, it is through the merits of the Catholic Church, our own gained merits. If we are not growing in grace and virtue ourselves, it affects more persons than just ourselves.

It affects the world.

I reiterate this point today as many converts coming from the Evangelical and Lutheran, as well as Anglican communities do not understand this interplay of grace and will.

Grace is not a feeling. It is not a consolation. It is the sharing of God's Life. The CCC is clear on this and uses the terms interchangeably. Grace is not merely personal. It is given to the Church in history.

We need to remember that the Incarnation of Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity becoming Man changed history, as history had a focal point.

God the Father entered history in the Old Testament, with the call of Abraham, the first person to have a personal relationship with God and a covenantal relationship with God.

The Patriarchs were given grace to respond to God's generous call in preparing a People from whom would come the Messiah, and His Own Incarnated Son, Jesus Christ.

Christ comes to us in grace, in the acceptance of Him through our free wills.

Nothing would happen in the world without our wills. All inventions, history, births, politics, art, etc. come from our ability to create , like God, in freedom. We mimic Him in this creation-His is poesis and ours is mimesis.

Our freedom creates with God's grace, the movement of the Church in the world.

If the Church is weak, we have become weak both in grace and in will. If  the Church is strong, we have become strong in will and grace.

Our baptismal vows, either made by us or for us by our God-parents, begins the interplay of grace and free will.

In this interplay is our hope, only if we conform our minds and hearts to Christ, as He is conformed to the Father and the Spirit in the Trinity..

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