The Grace of God Encourages and Strengthens us to Practice Virtue

October 10, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 273

The principal cause of this illusion is that we only regard the obstacles to virtue, and do not consider the grace which God gives us to overcome these obstacles.

The servant of Eliseus was frightened at the numbers who were coming armed against his master, until God, at the prayer of the prophet, opened his eyes and caused him to see that Eliseus was surrounded by a still greater number of defenders. A like fear leads men to reject virtue, when they know not the succors which God reserves for it.

But if the way of virtue be so difficult how could David express himself as he does? “I have been delighted in the way of thy testimonies, as in all riches. Thy commandments, O Lord! are more to be desired than gold and many precious stones, and sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.” Not only does he award to virtue the excellence which all ascribe to it, but praises it for that pleasure and sweetness which the world denies it.

Whoever, therefore, speaks of virtue as a heavy yoke shows that he has not yet penetrated this mystery. Tell me, you who claim to be a Christian, why did Christ come into the world? Why did He shed His blood? Why did He institute the sacraments? Why did He send down the Holy Ghost? What is the meaning of the Gospel, of grace, of the name of Jesus, Whom you adore? If you know not, hear the Angel, who says: “Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

Now, what is saving from sin, if not obtaining the pardon of past faults and the grace to avoid others in the future? What was the end of our Saviour’s coming, if not to help you in the work of your salvation? Did He not die on the cross to destroy sin? Did He not rise from the dead to enable you to rise to a life of grace? Why did He shed His blood, if not to heal the wounds of your soul? Why did He institute the sacraments, if not to strengthen you against sin? Did not His coming render the way to Heaven smooth and straight, according to that of Isaias, who said, in prophesying of Him, “the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain”? Why did He send the Holy Spirit, if not to change you from flesh into spirit? Why did He send Him under the form of fire but to enlighten you, to inflame you, and to transform you into Himself, that thus your soul might be fitted for His own divine kingdom?

What, in fine, is the object of grace, with the infused virtues which flow from it, but to sweeten the yoke of Christ, to facilitate the practice of virtue, to make you joyful in tribulations, hopeful in danger, and victorious in temptation? This comprises the teaching of the Gospel.

Adam, an earthly and sinful man, made us earthly and sinful. Jesus Christ, a heavenly and just Man, makes us spiritual and just. This is the sum of the doctrine proclaimed by the Evangelists, preached by the Apostles, and promised by the Prophets.

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