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Catholic Basics: Grace (Q & A)

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Catholic Basics: Grace (Q & A)

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What is Grace?

What is Sanctifying Grace?

What is Actual Grace?

What is Sacramental Grace?

Is Grace Necessary to Salvation?

Can We Resist the Grace of God?

Which Are the Sacraments That Confer Sanctifying Grace?

Which Are the Sacraments That Increase Sanctifying Grace?

Where Do the Sacraments Receive the Power of Conferring Grace?

Do the Sacraments Always Confer Grace?

Is There Any Other Means of Obtaining God's Grace Than the Sacraments?

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Question Answer
What is Grace?

"[Grace is] a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us, through the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation."

"[Grace is] a supernatural gift of God to an intellectual creature, bestowed with a view to eternal life... Sometimes, broadly, any gift freely given by God irrespective of a relation to man's supernatural end."

Ref. Baltimore Catechism, Catholic Dictionary

What is Sanctifying Grace?

"Sanctifying grace is that grace which makes the soul holy and pleasing to God."

"Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love" 

"Sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift inherent in our soul, and rendering us just, adopted children of God and heirs to Paradise." 

Sanctifying grace is also called habitual grace.

Ref. Baltimore Catechism, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

What is Actual Grace?

"Actual grace is that help of God which enlightens our mind and moves our will to shun evil and do good."

"[Actual graces] refer to God's interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification"

"Actual grace is a supernatural gift which enlightens the mind, moves and strengthens the will in order to enable us to do good and avoid evil."

Ref. Baltimore Catechism, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

What is Sacramental Grace? 

"Sacramental grace is a special help which God gives, to attain the end for which He instituted each Sacrament." 

"The sacramental grace...aids us in attaining the end for which each Sacrament was instituted and for which we receive it."

"Sacramental grace consists in the right acquired in the reception of a sacrament, to have at the proper time the actual graces necessary to fulfill the obligations arising from the sacrament received. Thus when we were baptized we received the right to have the grace to live a Christian life."

Ref. Baltimore Catechism, Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

Is Grace Necessary to Salvation? 

"Grace is necessary to salvation, because without grace we can do nothing to merit heaven."

Ref. Baltimore Catechism

Can We Resist the Grace of God?

"We can and unfortunately often do resist the grace of God."

"[W]e can resist the grace of God because it does not destroy our free will."

Ref. Baltimore Catechism, Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

Which Are the Sacraments That Confer Sanctifying Grace? 

"The sacraments which confer first sanctifying grace, and render us friends of God, are two: Baptism and Penance." 

Ref. Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

Which Are the Sacraments That Increase Sanctifying Grace? 

"The sacraments which increase grace in those who already possess it are the other five: Confirmation, Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Matrimony" 

Ref. Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

Where Do the Sacraments Receive the Power of Conferring Grace? 

"Jesus Christ by His passion and death gave to the sacraments the power of conferring grace." 

Ref. Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

Do the Sacraments Always Confer Grace? 

"The Sacraments always give grace, if we receive them with the right dispositions." 

"The sacraments always confer grace provided they are received with the necessary dispositions."

Ref. Baltimore Catechism, Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

Note: The Council of Trent States: "If any one saith, that grace, as far as God's part is concerned, is not given through the said sacraments, always, and to all men, even though they receive them rightly, but (only) sometimes, and to some persons; let him be anathema." 

Is There Any Other Means of Obtaining God's Grace Than the Sacraments? 

Although "grace is given us by God chiefly through the sacraments", note that "there is another means of obtaining God's grace, and it is prayer."

Ref. Catechism of Pope St. Pius X, Baltimore Catechism

"It is not enough that we believe; we must, moreover, be made just - that is, we must bear upon us the likeness of God's holiness; we must receive, we must have incorporated within us that great fruit of the redemption which is called grace; that thus being made living members of our divine Head, we may be made joint heirs with him of the kingdom of heaven. Now it is by means of the sacraments that Jesus is to produce in us this wondrous work of our justification; he applies to us the merits of his Incarnation and Sacrifice, but he applies them by certain means, which he himself, in his power and wisdom, has instituted." (Dom Gueranger)


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Sacraments (Q & A)

Sacraments Section

Grace (Topic Page)

Grace (Catholic Basics Reflections)

Prayers & Devotions Section

Selections From the Baltimore Catechism

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