Actual Grace From the Holy Spirit

“Sanctifying grace brings with it the supernatural helps of the Holy Ghost which go by the name of ‘actual graces.’ Even when in a state of grace, we require a special attraction and instigation of the Holy Ghost in order to perform a supernatural good work.”

“The natural faculties of the soul cannot pass into active operation without a stimulus from without, which rouses them from inaction; and since a supernatural power cannot be aroused into action by a natural cause, the Holy Ghost, who has given us the power, must also move it to develop itself, and this influence we call ‘actual grace.’ It is necessary for the Holy Spirit to animate these germs of virtue with His breath and inspiration, and to diffuse His own light and heat into them to develop a Divine life in them.”

“Moreover, we must by the acts that we perform in the state of grace rise continually higher, ever ascending to a higher state of grace. But this we are unable to do alone, even with the grace we already possess, because no one can be raised above his condition without the help of a higher agency. The Divine Spirit therefore must prompt us to aspire to a higher degree of grace, and assist us to reach it. For this the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are not sufficient; they indicate a condition, and are therefore dormant qualities of our soul till they are brought into activity by Him. The gifts of the Holy Ghost make a pliant instrument of our soul, but we need the master-hand to play upon it, and so bring out its virtue and harmony.”

“Again, every man in the state of justice requires actual grace, not only for the performance of supernatural good works, but in order to resist temptation to grave sin, and also to avoid the constant temptation to venial sin.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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Obtaining the Promises of the Beatitudes

“By the acts of the seven virtues which we perform under the impulse and with the help of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost we acquire likewise the eight beatitudes of which our Lord spoke in the Sermon on the Mount.”

1. “The gift of fear and the virtue of temperance make us truly ‘poor in spirit’ by mortifying our pride and our desire of earthly goods, and thus secure to us the kingdom of God, with its sublime sovereignty and abundant riches.”

2. “By the gift of piety and the virtue of justice we practise true meekness, live in peace and harmony with our fellow-men, and thus deserve undisturbed possession of the land of promise.”

3. “By the gift of knowledge and the virtue of prudence we acquire holy sorrow, and perceiving the vanity of earthly things and of false reasonings, we seek peace of mind and comfort in God alone.”

4. “The gift of fortitude and the virtue of holy zeal will create in us a growing hunger and thirst after justice, which will hereafter be satisfied by God with all heavenly blessings.”

5. “The gift of counsel, by which the virtue of hope is increased and confirmed, will induce us to practise mercy towards our neighbour, in order that we may find mercy from God.”

6. “The gift of understanding and the virtue of faith plunge our heart in the Divine light, purify it evermore from sensual attachments, and thus procure for us that purity of heart which makes us worthy of seeing God face to face in heaven.”

7. “Finally, the gift of wisdom and the virtue of charity tend to unite us ever more intimately with God and with our neighbour in the enjoyment of the highest good, which implies that peace which makes us true and perfect children of God.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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Blessings From the Holy Spirit

“These supernatural virtues [faith, hope, and charity] are not all, or even the greatest, of the blessings conferred on us by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. There are others which are particularly attributed to Him, and are called in a special sense gifts of the Holy Ghost.”

“These gifts are spoken of prophetically by the prophet Isaias, who applied them to the sacred humanity of Christ: ‘And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and of godliness, and He shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord’ (Isa 11:2). The same Holy Spirit who rested upon the humanity of the Son of God comes to us also when we are in a state of grace.”

“These are not the only means by which the Paraclete, the Comforter, assists man in his passage to eternity. Our Saviour, speaking for the last time to His disciples, said of Him that ‘He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind whatsoever I shall have said to you.’ These lessons might be summed up under two headings: (1) love of God; (2) love of man. The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost of which St. Paul speaks are a token and reminder to God’s children of what He taught them when He was on earth. . . . As His words were ever merciful and compassionate to the sorrowful, the suffering, and the sinner; as He forgave His disciples who denied or deserted Him without so much as a word of reproach, and He besought forgiveness from His heavenly Father for his executioners: so the graces conferred by the Holy Ghost on His faithful followers are a perpetual reminder of what Christ expects from them. ‘The fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity’ (Gal 5:22-23).”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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Natural and Supernatural Virtues

“As by grace we are made true children and friends of God, and God gives all His creatures the power and means to live according to their state and destiny, He must give us, who are His children, the help we require to attain to our supernatural end, which is Himself. We must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Therefore grace must not only bestow on us the theological virtues by which we are united to God in faith, hope, and charity, but likewise all other virtues which will enable us to live in a manner conformable to our rank as children of God, and to our sublime relation with God and our neighbour.”

“With natural moral virtue we may lead good lives as fathers of families or citizens; but by grace we walk, not in our own spirit, but in that of the Holy Ghost, who produces in us a heavenly morality, meekness, goodness, temperance, and purity, and makes us similar to the Angels, even to God Himself. Thus, an act of supernatural virtue differs almost as much from acts which are performed on natural though virtuous motives, as the rational acts of man differ from those of merely sensual and animal life.”

“Moreover, the supernatural virtues have, besides their sublime nature, and in virtue of it, the additional advantage over the natural virtues that they may be acquired in a moment and with comparatively little labour. The natural virtues are the fruit of our efforts, and we often take a long time to acquire them. The supernatural virtues are far above all efforts of ours to acquire. They are the fruit of the Holy Ghost, who infuses them into us, and whose grace, as St. Ambrose says, knows no tardiness in action. They enter our heart at the moment when we receive grace and charity in justification.”

“The exercise of these virtues, it is true, does not become at once easy and pleasant to us, for our evil habits and inclinations are opposed to them; but they give us light and strength, which, if we correspond with grace, will enable us to overcome all obstacles in the practice of them.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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The Golden Circle of Supernatural Charity

“‘Now there remain faith, hope, and charity; and the greatest of these is charity’ (1 Cor 13:13). It is the greatest because it is the complement and perfection of faith and hope; for by charity we embrace the highest good which we know by faith, by charity we are united on earth with that which is the object of our hope in heaven.”

“We may possess the faith and hope of the children of God, without being in a state of grace. But when charity is infused into our soul, then the Holy Ghost is likewise given us; and He comes not only to enrich us with His grace, but to dwell in us and consecrate our soul as His temple.”

“This supernatural charity therefore is as great a gift as sanctifying grace itself. As God unites Himself in a supernatural manner to our soul by grace, so we unite ourselves by supernatural love in a mysterious but very real manner with God, and thus complete that golden circle which embraces God and the creature. . . . In grace He loves us with a paternal love in His only begotten Son, and so we must by grace embrace Him with filial love.”

“Love in general is the cause of all that is sweetest and most blessed in our relations with God or with creatures; its very name is synonymous with consolation and happiness. Our heart has been created for the enjoyment of love, and it desires nothing more than to find a worthy object of love with which to unite itself.”

“O human heart, lonely and sad heart that will always love and yet is never satisfied with love! How canst thou remain closed against this grace of Divine love, which alone will satisfy all thy cravings, and fill thee with the torrent of the pleasure of thy God? When thy Lord approaches thee with such love, how canst thou refuse to complete that golden circle which will fasten Himself to thee and thee to Him! Oh, if thou didst know the gift of God, like the Samaritan woman thou wouldst ask the Saviour for the living water, which having tasted of thou wouldst never thirst again.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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Hope With Patience

“Hope, like charity, has its seat, not in the intellect, but in the will. The will has two acts: the first is to take pleasure in the good it sees, and the second to pursue it with earnestness and confidence. In the same way as faith communicates to our reason a supernatural power of understanding, the infused virtue of hope endows our will with a Divine power and a supernatural confidence, that it may actively pursue and securely attain the highest and infinite good to which nothing created can attain. Hope lifts us above all creatures in order to rest in God alone. It is the source of our confidence of possessing God, the highest supernatural good, for all eternity.”

“St. Paul has been called the Apostle of Divine grace; and, as grace is the foundation of hope, he more than any of the sacred writers has made holy hope the subject of his discourse. In his Epistle to the Romans he goes at length into the grounds we have for hope.” Therein the Apostle writes: “Being justified therefore by faith, let us have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access through faith into this grace, wherein we stand and glory in the hope of the glory of the sons of God. And not only so, but we glory also in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience trial, and trial hope. And hope confoundeth not, because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given us.” (Rom 5:1-5) And again: “We are saved by hope. But hope that is seen, is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for? But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience.” (Rom 8:24-25)

“What can we add to these sublime words, except that they are given to us not only to be admired, but to be deeply pondered over, so that with the help of Divine grace they may give rise to the spirit of child-like confidence in God, which more than any other dispositions makes our soul pleasing to Him. For, as a great Saint has said, ‘The measure of our loving confidence in God is the measure of His mercies to us.'”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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The Night of Faith; The Light of Faith

“If by grace we partake of the nature of God, we must also partake of the knowledge proper to the Divine Nature. We must, as the Apostle says, know God in the same manner as we are known. Only when grace is perfected in us in the light of glory will this take place in a perfect manner; but even in the land of exile God will not forsake His children. Even here they shall know Him, and their own dignity and the greatness of their inheritance. And as no one knows the Father but Himself, and His Son with the Holy Ghost, He must reveal Himself by His own Word; and since we cannot by nature grasp or comprehend this Divine Word, He has endowed us with a supernatural light and strength whereby we may attain to this knowledge. Our Blessed Saviour says, ‘No one can come to Him except the Father draw him’ by that supernatural attraction which transcends all earthly experience.”

“Grace bestows on us a supernatural light and a supernatural strength, both of which are necessary for Divine faith. In order to believe it is necessary to know that it is God Himself who speaks to us. This we may know by our natural reason; but unless God illuminated our mind and purified our heart we should be incapable of grasping Divine truth or making any act worthy of salvation. For the truths of religion are of so sublime a nature that the light of reason is as insufficient to understand them as to reveal them to us.”

“A man born blind may receive an accurate account of objects invisible to him, but they must still remain unknown and incomprehensible to him. Our condition with regard to supernatural truth would be the same if God, who reveals them to us by His Word, did not at the same time infuse into us the supernatural light of grace and bring home these truths to us by means of it.”

“Let us not be afraid, therefore, to submit our reason obediently to faith. . . . Faith, then, is a night in comparison to the day of eternal glory; but it is a night illumined with heavenly light, and is as the brightest day in contrast with the light of sense and reason.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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