The Parish Catechism, Lesson 08: Grace

detail of a stained glass window depicting each of the seven sacraments; by Ott Frères Strasbourg, 1923; Saint-Thiébaut parish church, Thann, Haut-Rhin, France; photographed on 31 July 2015 by GFreihalter; swiped from Wikimedia Commons“For by grace you are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

89. Will everyone enter heaven?

Only those who have God’s grace in their souls when they die will enter heaven.

A man could not live underwater unless God added to his human life (man’s life) the life of a fish. A man could not fly like a bird unless God added to his human life (man’s life) the life and powers of a bird. A man cannot live in heaven unless God gives him the life of heaven, which is grace.

90. What is grace?

Grace is a new life of the soul, a sharing in the life of God Himself.

“He hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4)

91. Does your soul have life before it obtains grace?

Before it obtains grace your soul has its natural life. Grace is another life, a new life, a higher life given to your soul. Without grace the soul has its natural life and with it the power to think and will. Grace elevates this life to a new and higher level of existence.

92. What does sharing in the life of God mean?

Sharing in the life of God means that God places in your soul a life that is like His own life.

“We know that when he shall appear we shall be like him.” (1 John 3:2)

93. Does sharing in the life of God mean that you are really like God?

When you obtain grace in your soul you are really like God, and will share in the very happiness of God Himself. Through grace a person is like God but he is not God. The life that is given the human soul through grace is not the same uncreated life that God has but a created life that is like God’s life. Just as a child has life like his parents, has features or manners like them, does not make the child his parents.

94. What beautiful change takes place when you receive God’s grace in your soul?

When you receive God’s grace:

You receive a new life.

• “Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be bom again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3)

You become God-like.

• “For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning of his creature.” (James 1:18)

You become a temple of God.

• “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” (John 14:23)

• “Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

You become a son of God.

• “Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God.” (1 John 3:1)

You obtain the right to enter heaven.

95. Can you experience or feel grace in your soul?

You cannot see or feel grace. A religious experience or feeling is no indication that grace is present in the soul.

“For we walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)

96. When God created Adam did He give His grace to the human race?

God created man in the state of grace, but Adam by his sin lost this beautiful gift for himself and for the whole human race.

“By one man sin entered into this world.” (Romans 5:12)

97. How did the human race get grace back again?

Christ, the Son of God, suffered a most cruel death and offered Himself on the cross to God the Father to restore to all of us the great gift of grace.

“For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.” (John 3:16)

98. Are you then born with grace in your soul?

You are not born with grace in your soul.

“For as by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners.” (Romans 5:19)

99. How do you obtain God’s grace?

The usual way of obtaining God’s grace is through the Sacrament of Baptism.

100. How do you prepare for Baptism?

You must complete a full course of religious instructions. During the course of instructions you must observe all the laws of God and the Catholic Church especially the law of Sunday worship, and the law of fast and abstinence.

101. After you have received the life of grace how can you make that life stronger?

You can make grace increase and grow in your soul by receiving the Sacraments frequently (especially Confession and Holy Communion), by prayer and good works done for love of God, and by performing your family duties well.

“But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

102. How do you lose the life of grace?

You lose the life of grace in only one way, that is by mortal sin.

“There is a sin unto death.” (1 John 5:16)

103. If you lose grace by mortal sin can you get the life of grace back again?

Grace can be regained. God will forgive anyone who is sincerely sorry for his sins and will give him back the life of grace.

“For the Lord your God is merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.” (2 Paralipomenon 30:9)

104. What value should you place on the grace of God?

You should realize that the life of grace is the greatest gift God can give you.

• “Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

You should be ready to make any sacrifice to obtain and preserve the life of grace.

• “My son, give me thy heart.” (Proverbs 23:26)

You should make every effort to strengthen and maintain the life of grace once you have gained it.

• “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

You should avoid anything that will endanger the life of grace. . . You should avoid the evil things in the world, the temptations of the flesh, the evil suggestions of the devil.