"Sanctifying Grace Is the Key to Understanding the Catholic Faith"

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year A 8 November 2020

“Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.” Mt. 25:11-13

In today’s gospel (Mt. 25:1-3), Jesus gives us The Parable of the Ten Virgin” who were awaiting the bridegroom. Five were wise and five were foolish. While awaiting the coming of the bridegroom, the wise had oil for their lamps, but the foolish did not. After buying oil for their lamps, they returned to meet the bridegroom, but it was too late: But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.” Mt. 25:11-13 The early Fathers of the Church have interpreted the oil as having sanctifying grace in the soul. To understand sanctifying grace is the key to understanding the Catholic Faith. Fr. John Hardon, S. J. tells us: “In a world which is in turmoil and darkness and where Catholicism is suffering a loss of faith from within and from without, there must be some root cause. There is a loss of faith in the supernatural and supernatural is the adjective for grace. Grace is the key to understanding everything else in the Catholic Christianity. Not to know the meaning of grace is not to know what the Catholic faith is all about. On the other hand, the more closely we understand what the Bible and the Church teach about the grace of God, the more deeply we shall penetrate into all the other mysteries of the Christianity (Catholicism). Even more, the more we understand that ‘grace (and I am quoting) is the mistress of truth, the teacher of discipline, the light of the heart, the comforter of affliction, the banisher of sorrow, the expeller of fears, the muse of devotion and the producer of tears.’ (Thomas a’ Kempis, The Imitation of Christ) In a word to know the value of God’s grace is to be on the road to heaven because without grace there is no hope of eternal life, but with grace we already know that we are in possession of that heavenly treasure for which we were made. All the dogmas of faith take their existence from a supernatural order which is the order of grace. The word for grace is love! Grace then is divine love poured out to His creatures so that having come from God who is divine love we might, by means of His love, which is grace, we might return to Go from whom we came.

Can Grace Rejected be Restored

“Can grace rejected be restored? Every mortal sin we commit deprives the sinner of grace. Our guilt is the loss of divine grace When we have sinned and we repent with a good confession, not only shall we recover our lost grace, but, according to our contrition and repentance, we become even richer in grace. Why? Because God’s mercy not only restores us the grace we have lost by sinning, but depending on our repentance, we can receive extraordinary graces, with deep humility of heart. When we have God’s grace in our souls, we become instruments of grace for others. This is why we should practice the virtues motivated by charity. God wants us to become the means of obtaining grace from God for others. Except for us, the people with whom we live, work and meet would not receive graces. What are we saying: every human being depends upon other human beings to be conduits and instruments of grace. In God’s Providence every human being is to be a channel of God’s grace to every other human being. The closer their relationship naturally, as with husband and wife, parents and children, the more God intends their relationship to be supernaturally helpful. The principal channel for grace for you, wives, is your husband and for you, husbands, it is your wife. How are we to be channels of grace to others; in that we are doing God’s will. So true is this that those who are not in the state of grace are in mortal sin and are channels of that power which comes from the evil one, the devil. That is why the essence of holiness is not in a moral life itself but in being in the state of grace. That is why the more grace we obtain, the more sacraments we receive, the more frequently and fervently we pray, the more we cooperate with graces which God gives us the more holy we become. The more grace in our souls the more humble we are in our own eyes. We are as effective channels of grace the more we are united to God.” The Servant of God, Father John A. Hardon, SJ., “Divine Love,” Crusade in Truth Series, Eternal Life.

Growth in Sanctifying Grace

With all of what Fr. Hardon has explained, it is so important for us to be in the state of sanctifying grace. This is why the five wise virgins could not share their oil with the five foolish virgins. Jesus had said, “Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him.” Jn. 14:23 When we keep the commandments and love God, the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost will come and dwell in our soul. We participate in the divine life of the God in our soul. This, of course, is a great mystery! We might feel any different or look any different to others, but in the eyes of God, we are His beloved spouse to whom He comes to share His divine life with us! Therefore, in order for us to grow in grace we must use the channels of grace which God has given us in the seven sacraments. Of special importance is the sacrament of penance which restores the soul to sanctifying grace with the forgiveness of mortal sin and the Holy Eucharist which increases sanctifying grace with the reception of Holy Communion and attendance at Holy Mass. The other sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Matrimony and Extreme Unction, aid the soul as special times in life. How blessed we are to these sacraments of the Church for our growth in sanctifying grace and the love of God!

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