What Grace is and does

December 30, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 144
By Venerable Louis of Granada



God’s fatherly providence, of which we have just been treating, is the source of all the favors and privileges which He bestows upon those who serve Him. For it belongs to this providence to furnish man with all the means necessary for his perfection and happiness.

The most important of these means is the grace of the Holy Ghost, which in its turn is the source of all other heavenly gifts. This is the garment with which the good father in the parable ordered the prodigal to be clothed.

But, that we may have a clearer idea of it, let us see how theologians define it. Divine grace, they tell us, is a participation of the divine nature, that is, of God’s sanctity, purity, and greatness, by virtue of which man is despoiled of the baseness and corruption of his nature and is clothed with the beauty and nobility of Jesus Christ.

Holy writers illustrate this by a familiar example. A piece of iron, when taken out of the fire, though it still continues to be iron, resembles the fire on account of its heat and brightness.

Grace acts in like manner. As a divine quality it is infused into the soul, and so transforms man into God that, without ceasing to be man, he assumes the virtues and purity of God.

This was the change wrought in St. Paul when he said: “I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.” [Gal. ii. 20.]

Grace may also be called a supernatural and divine form, by means of which man lives as becomes his origin, which is also supernatural and divine.

Grace is, moreover, a spiritual dress, a chaste ornament of the soul, which renders her so beautiful in the eyes of God that He adopts her as His child, or rather accepts her as His Spouse.

It was this adornment which made the prophet rejoice when he said: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God. For He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown, and as a bride adorned with her jewels,” [Isaias lxi. 10.]

Such are the gifts with which the Holy Spirit enriches and adorns the soul. This is the garment of divers colors in which the king’s daughter was gloriously arrayed. [Ps. xliv.] For from grace proceeds that glorious variety of virtues which forms the power and beauty of the soul.

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