All that we receive from God our existence, our natural powers, the good things of this life are God’s free gift and may therefore be rightly called graces or favors received from Him. Man has been created that he may see God face to face in His glory, and God, who calls him to eternal life, also furnishes the means by which it may be secured. The theologians of the Church distinguish grace from nature. Grace in its strict sense may be defined as a supernatural gift freely bestowed by God on rational creatures in order that they may attain eternal life. It is called a supernatural gift in order to distinguish it from gifts which come to us in the natural order. All grace since the Fall has been given to man on account of Christ’s merits.

Grace is divided into external and internal grace. The former term includes such external gifts as the preaching of the Gospel, the examples of Christ and the Saints, occasions of good actions, the removal of exterior temptations in a word, all the effects of supernatural providence by which the cause of our salvation is promoted. Internal grace directly affects the understanding and the will, either inhering in the soul as a permanent quality, or merely moving and aiding the soul at the time to acts of supernatural virtue.

MLA Citation

  • Father James J McGovern. “grace”. Catholic Pocket Dictionary, 1906. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 November 2019. Web. 4 March 2021. <>