THUR-FRI-SAT-SUN
May 4-7, 2000
volume 11, no. 87

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APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH Series         INTRODUCTION

    Every day we present a short point that helps bring into focus the treasures of the Roman Catholic Church that comprise the great Deposit of Faith.

    It is no secret that over the past thirty years fewer and fewer know their Faith and it shows with the declining number of vocations, parish participation and attendance at Holy Mass. We have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church but for the common man, the one brought up on sound bites and instant gratification, it is more of a text book and that in itself prompts them to shy away from such a tome. So what's a loyal Catholic to do in evangelizing to fellow Catholics and understand their Faith? Our answer: go back to basics - to the great Deposit of Faith. We have the Baltimore Catechism which, for unknown and ridiculous reasons, was shelved after Vatican II. We have the Holy Bible but there are so many newer versions that the Douay-Rheims and Confraternity Latin Vulgate in English versions, the ones used for so long as the official Scriptural text authorized by the Church, seem lost in a maze of new interpretations that water down the Word. This is further complicated by the fact there are so few Douay-Rheims editions in circulation though it is available on the net at DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE. We have so many Vatican documents available at the Vatican web site and other excellent Catholic resource sites that detail Doctrine, Dogma and Canon Law. We have the traditions, and the means of grace but how do we consolidate all these sources into one where it is succinct and easy to understand? We have the perfect vehicle. It is called "My Catholic Faith", now out of print, that was compiled by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow and published by My Mission House. This work ties in Scriptural references, the Sacraments, Dogmas, Doctrines, Traditions, Church documents, Encyclical and Papal decrees to clearly illustrate the Faith in simple, solid and concise terms that all can understand and put into practice. We will quote from this work while adding in more recent events and persons when applicable since the book was written in the late forties during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. We also quote from the Catholic Almanac published by Our Sunday Visitor for the Roman Curial offices and from Old Testament Confraternity Edition and New Testament Confraternity Edition of the Saint Joseph New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible.

    Nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these daily "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. For points covered thus far, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


installment 164:
Sanctifying Grace part two

        There are two kinds of frace: sanctifying grace and actual grace. Sanctifying grace is that grace which confers on our souls a new life, that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself. By sanctifying grace, our souls are made holy and pleasing to God. It is an abiding or permanent grace, which we gain by baptism, and lose only by mortal sin. By Adam's sin all mankind lost the friendfship of God; that is, we are born in original sin, without sanctifying grace. Our Lord's death won back sanctifying grace for us; it is granted freely at baptism.

        A soul to whom God grants sanctifying grace receives not merely a gift from God, but God Himself. The Holy Spirit lives in him and becomes united with him, so that he receivbes a new life, a new nature. St. Paul refers to this acquisition of sanctifying grace as the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new. It is as if an old and worn man were suddenly to become a handsome young man full of the vigor of life. The beauty of a soul in the state of sancitfying grace is too great for human eyes to bear. As a child said, when asked how his soul would look immediately after his confirmation, if it could be photographed, "Why, it would look like God!"

        The chief effects of sanctifying grace are first, that it makes us holy and pleasing to God. When we are in possession of sanctifying grace, we are free from mortal sin; the two cannot dwell together. The fire of the Holy Spirit sears away all that God abhors, so that we acquire God's friendship.

        However, although free from mortal sin, we do not, with sanctifying grace, become free from the remains of sin. So even saints feel the human inclination to sin, against which the struggle is lifelong, and from which we should gain merit. This human frailty is imbedded in our flesh, and is present in our souls as a result of original sin.

        Sanctifying grace, however, although it does not cure us of the weakness of the flesh, strengthens our will, so that for us the war against sin becomes easier. The charity accompanying sanctifying grace makes us more prone to good works, more attracted to God, with minds illumined as to the folly of sin.

        Second, it makes us adopted children of God. With sanctifying grace, the Holy Spirit enters our soul; we are led by His Spirit, and are therefore His children: "For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14).

        "Now you have not received a spirit of bondage so as to be again in fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons, by virtue of which we cry, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit Himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God" (Romans 8:15-16).

        Third, it makes us temples of the Holy Ghost. Sanctifying grace brings the Holy Spirit to dwell in us as in a temple. St. Paul says, "For you are the temple of the Living God" (2 Corinthians 6:16).

        "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, him will God destroy; for holy is the temple of God and this temple you are" (1 Corinthians 16,17).

        Fourth, it gives us the right to Heaven. When we are in sanctifying grace, we are inspired to do good works. The Holy Spirit does not sleep within us, but expands our heart with His grace, and urges our will to do good. And as we are adopted children of God, such actions become meritorious for Heaven.

        If we are children of God, we are at the same time heirs, and therefore have a right to His Kingdom. "We are the sons of God. But if we are sons, we are heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:16-17).

        Sanctifying grace is necessary for salvation because it is the supernatural life, which alone enables us to attain the supernatural happiness of Heaven.

        The presence of God in the soul give it life. When the Holy Spirit is dwelling in the soul, it is enabled to know and love God, to do supernatural works. Speaking of the "gift of God", Our Lod said it "shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up unto life everlasting" (John 4:14). Without sanctifying grace, the soul is without God; and without God, the soul becomes the devil's.

        One cannot gain any merit for Heaven as long as he is not in sanctifying grace, what is termed "in the state of grace". For without sanctifying grace one is an enemy of God, and cannot enter His kingdom.

        Mortal sin makes the soul displeasing to God, and thus deprives it of sanctifying grace.

    Tuesday, May 30th: Actual Grace part one

          

May 4-7, 2000
volume 11, no. 87
APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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