"...No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him up on the last day..."
( John 6:44 ) Douay- Rheims Bible.
See Catechism of The Catholic Church pages 483-486, paragraphs 1996 and following "... grace is favor "the free and underserved help". . .
Some Early Church Fathers on Grace.
Man is Renewed Internally by the Supernatural Gift of Grace.
"...Just as [God] gave existence to that which did not exist [us], so He gave new creation to that which did exist, a diviner creation and a loftier than the first, which is to those who are beginning life a Seal, and to those who are more mature in age both gift and a restoration of the image which had fallen through sin..."
Saint Gregory Nazianzen, ( about 330-390 A.D. ), the Theologian in the East.
"...If the fire passing through the mass of the iron makes the whole of it fire, so that what was cold becomes burning and what was black is made bright,-if fire which is a body thus penetrates and works without hindrance in iron which is also a body, why wonder that the Holy Spirit enters into the very inmost recesses of the soul?..."
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, ( about 315-387 A.D. ).
"...When we received forgiveness of sins, and put our hope in the Name [ of Jesus ] we were renewed, totally recreated; and so God truly dwells in us as in His habitation..."
Saint Gregory The Great, ( about 540-604 A.D. ).
"...'No man can come to me, except the Father who has sent me draw him ( Jn 6:44)! For He does not say, 'except He lead him,' so that we can thus in any way understand that his will precedes. For who is 'drawn,' if he was already willing? And yet no man comes unless he is willing. Therefore he is drawn in woundrous ways to will, by Him who knows how to work within the hearts of men. Not that men who are unwilling should believe, which cannot be, but that they should be made willing from being unwilling..."
Saint Augustine, ( about 354-430 A.D. ), bishop of Hippo.
"...'There is henceforth laid up for me,' he says,'a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day' ( 2 Tim. 4:8 ). Now, to whom should the righteous Judge award the crown, except to him in whom the merciful Father had bestowed grace? And how could the crown be one 'of righteousness,' unless the grace had preceded which 'justifies the ungodly'?
Saint Augustine, ( about 354-430 A.D. ), bishop of Hippo.
"...And if by grace, it will be said, how came we all not be saved? Because you would not. For grace, though it be grace, saves the willing, not those who will not have it, and turn away from it, who persist in fighting against it, and opposing themselves to it..."
Saint John Chrysostom, ( about 347- 407 A.D. ), patriarch of Constantinople.
"...For as I myself was held entangled by the very many errors of my previous life, of which I did not believe that I could divest myself, so I was disposed to give in to my clinging vices, and in my despair of better things I indulged my sins as if now proper and belonging to me. But afterwards, when the stain of my past life had been washed away by the aid of the water of regeneration, a light from above poured itself upon my chastened and pure heart; afterwards when I had drunk of the Spirit from heaven a second birth restored me into a new man; immediately in a marvelous manner doubtful matters clarified themselves, the closed opened, the shadowy shone with light, what seemed impossible was able to be accomplished, so that it was possible to acknowledge that what was born of the flesh and lived submissive to sins was earthly, and what the Holy Spirit already was animating began to be of God..."
Saint Cyprian, ( about 258 A.D. ), bishop of Carthage.
"...'I have fought says [Paul] 'the good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith' ( 2 Tim.4:7 ). Now, in the first place, these good works were nothing, unless they had been preceded by good thoughts. Observe, therefore what he says concerning these very thoughts. His words, when writing to the Corinthians, are: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God' ( 2 Cor. 3:5 ).
Saint Augustine, ( about 354- 430 A.D. ), bishop of Hippo.
Grace, in general, is a supernatural gift of God to intellectual creatures ( men, angels ) for their eternal salvation. grace, is divine life in our soul ( Gal. 2:20 ) ( John 15:4 ) making us temples of the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 2: 19-22 ) and adopted children of God. Grace, the very presence of God, might be viewed like "a light getting brighter", which enables human freedom to make choices pleasing to God.
In order to achieve a supernatural end, that is, union with God in heaven, we need a supernatural means. Sanctifying grace, that is, supernatural life in the soul, is a sharing (participation) in the life of God Himself. [ A quick analogy: I am a certified scuba diver. I can not live underwater without my scuba diving tanks. Likewise, a person could not live in heaven without sanctifying grace. ] This supernatural gift of life was bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ on the cross. He respects the freedom of men and angels, and deals with them accordingly on their individual judgment day. grace is a gift that can be rejected at anytime. Therefore, normatively, God suspends judgment until after a person has died. A person given the light of grace will not have as an excuse on his individual judgment day that "he did not know the law." [See also my truth page.]
Consider these Bible verses along with "The Word of Cheap Grace," by Dietrich Bonhoffer.
( No "once saved, always save" here. )
( 2 Peter 2:4-5 Douay-Rheims ) "...4 For God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but dragged them down by infernal ropes to Tartarus, and delivered them to be tortured and kept in custody for judgment. 5 Nor did he spare the ancient world, but preserved ( with seven others ) Noe a herald of justice,when he brought a flood upon the world of the impious..."
( Jude 6 Douay-Rheims )"...But I desire to remind you, though once for all you have come to know all things, that Jesus, who saved the people from the land of Egypt, the next time destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels also who did not preserve their original state, but forsook their abode, he has kept in everlasting chains under darkness for the great judgement day..."
( Galatians 5:6 ) "...For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love..."
( 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 Douay-Rheims )"...Yes, working together with him we entreat you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says, In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped thee..."
( Romans 2:5-16 NIV ) "...5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of 6 God, will give to each person according to what he has done. 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger..." "...13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 ( Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. ) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares..."
( 2 Corinthians 12:9 )"...my grace is sufficient for you..."
( Deuteronomy 6:4-6 )"...Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts..."
We receive the gift of grace during Mass. When we share the bread and wine, Jesus unites us with himself in his offering of himself to God, our Father. We offer ourselves to God, along with Jesus at Mass, as a "living sacrifice"... "so we, though many, are one body in Christ" ( Rom 12:1-5 ). When we receive the Eucharist, Jesus gives himself to us in the food of life - his Body and Blood - to help us grow in goodness and love, and be more like him. We then have received the gift of grace. We join Jesus in praising our Father at Mass. We celebrate the memorial of his sacrifice, and we celebrate, too, Jesus alive and mysterious,
really present among us ( 1 Cor 5:7 ) ( Heb 9:14; 9:24-28 ).
On The Word of Cheap Grace by Dietrich Bonhoffer.
"The word of cheap grace has been the ruin of more Christians than any commandment of works."* ( Dietrich Bonhoeffer ) During World War II, Lutheran churchman Dietrich Bonhoeffer challenged Hitler publicly. He was a brave witness against idolatry; against cheap grace. He was hanged by the Nazi SS Black Guards on April 9th 1945 at age 39.
"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."* ( Dietrich Bonhoeffer )
Mt. 10:38-39 And he who does not take up his cross and follow me, is not worthy of me. ( Mt. 16:24-25; 19:29; Mk. 8:34-35; Lk.9:23-24; 14:26; Dt.33:9 ) 39 he that finds his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. ( Lk.17:33; Jn.12:25 ) The Catholic Apologetics Study Bible, ( CASB )**
The Teachings of the Church Fathers, by John R. Willis, S. J. Ignatius Press, San Francisco.
* Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, Pages 46 and 36 respectively, second edition, The Macmillian Company, 60 Fifth Avenue New York, N.Y. 10011. Translated from German NACHFOLGE by R.H. Fuller with some revisions by Irmgard Booth.
** The Catholic Apologetics Study Bible ( CASB ), Volume 1, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, page 53, by Robert A. Sungenis. Published by: Queenship Publishing P.O. Box 20, Goleta, CA 93116.
"Cause of our Joy" was written by friends of beloved Barbara Pogorzelski ( deceased ) sometime around 1980. Exact author( s ) is unknown to me at this time.
Cause of Our Joy.
The Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People of Vatican II ( The Spirituality of Lay People, Chapter 1 ) tells us the success of the apostolate of lay people depends on our union with Christ. Lay people should strive through the continuous exercise of faith, hope, and love to permeate all of their activities, family and occupational especially, with their Christian spirit. "Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus." ( Col 3:17 ). Only the light of faith and meditation on the Word of God can enable us universally to find God, in whom "we live and move, and have our being" ( Acts 17:28 ).
The perfect example of this apostolic life is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Apostles. We contemplate the wonders of Mary, and it suffuses our spirit with joy. Our response then to this interior joy should be happy and free. Joy belongs to the soul; therefore, anyone whose soul is not in order, not open to true values, will never know true joy. True joy comes from a harmonious exercise of the human and divine virtues - faith, hope, and charity, - which project our lives up to the very heavens.
Joy is faith. When we walk in the light, there is joy. In this light of faith, we learn to know ourselves and the values of the world. When we tread a path of cheer and joy, everything is friendly, has its importance and worth. Faith strengthens our hope and this in turn gives a sense of contentment and joy. St. Augustine said, "Happiness is nothing more than the joy of truth." Without this light of faith, our world becomes meaningless, lonely, empty, threatening, and paralyzing. The only way to happiness is in the way of faith. The more strongly we believe, the more clearly we see, and the deeper is our vision, the deeper is our love. The more we love, the more we will be filled with contentment. Our Lady was called blessed because of her faith ( Luke 1:45 ), a lesson for all of us of goodwill.
Joy is hope. This is the message of the whole of scripture. St. Peter and St. Paul invite us to glory in our hope ( 1 P 3:15, Ph 3:4, Rm 12:12 ). The spur to such hope is the fact of salvation ( Rm 8:24 ) and this is a source of boundless joy. Our day-to-day living can have much fear, but for the Christian who lives in hope, everything that happens has divine significance. The holy Virgin knew how to keep her calm and serenity because her heart was resting in the triumph of her Son over death and all that went with it.
Joy is love. Pope Paul VI said, " Christ is the joy, the true joy of the world." Happiness is the presence of someone who can fill our hearts. Happiness does not come from things but from persons. In today's world, too many choose merely between things. They leave God out and so they never really find the key they are seeking. The sincere Christian on the other hand counts chiefly on God. "To go far from Him is to fall, to turn to Him is to rise. Remain in Him and you are safe and sound. To return to Him is to be reborn. To live in Him is to live indeed." ( Pope Paul VI ). Our Lady bids us to be joyful. Her exultation came essentially from her total surrender to God's love ( Luke 1:47-50 ). The same must be so for us.
Mary is the cause of our joy because she really gives us Jesus. Joy is personal acquisition: You cannot buy it or sell it. We each have our own thoughts, our own spirit. It is up to each of us to determine the extent of our own peace, to attach ourselves to what is valid, holy, enduring.