Clothed With Grace

“By grace, as we have seen, man receives a participation of the Divine Nature. . . . This St. Paul describes as a transformation. ‘You are,’ he says, ‘transformed into the image of God, from glory to glory’ (2 Cor 3:18); for by it we are created anew.”

“St. Cyril of Alexandria speaks of this re-creation in the following terms: ‘If we have once taken leave of the life of the senses, is it not evident by this surrender of our former selves and union with the Holy Spirit that we are changed into a heavenly image, and transformed, to a certain extent, into another nature? We can then, with justice, be called, not men only, but children of God, having become participants in the Divine Nature.'”

“What has been said of a transformation of one nature does not mean that our natural substance is destroyed, or absorbed in the Divine Substance. . . . The change wrought by grace comes from God, not from the will or power of the creature. It is a miracle of the Divine Omnipotence which lifts us into a higher sphere, far above human limitations.”

“As the defects and imperfections of iron are burnt up and destroyed when it is plunged into a furnace, and yet its substance remains the same, in a similar manner, St. Cyril teaches, we do not put off the substance of our nature, but only its lowliness and defects.”

“We lose nothing by sanctifying grace that we have hitherto possessed; rather do we receive what was hitherto wanting to us; according to the word of St. Paul, ‘We would not be unclothed, but clothed upon; that that which is mortal may be swallowed up by life’ (2 Cor 5:4). The garment of grace is not only superadded to the soul, as raiment is to the body; it likewise invests and penetrates the soul in the same way as the glow of fire penetrates the iron which is submitted to its heat.”

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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That Our Joy May Be Complete

“Providence has implanted in our hearts a great thirst for knowledge and truth, but this knowledge and this truth can only be found in Him. . . . He Himself introduces us into His admirable light. ‘In Thy light we shall see light,’ says the Psalmist. Only in His own light, and not in our light, can we see God.”

“If, then, we experience, in common with every child of Adam, an inexpressible desire for the perception of truth and the enjoyment of the beautiful, why do we not seek to satisfy it at its Source? That is, in God. The light of grace will introduce us to the light of God. In heaven He will manifest to us His own beauty, in the enjoyment of which He, with the Son and the Holy Ghost, is happy for ever and ever: that beauty which unites in itself all the possible and imaginable beauties of His works with all their wonderful diversity.”

“‘My face hath sought Thee,’ we should say with the Psalmist: ‘Thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.'”

“‘I cannot express, O my God,’ says St. Anselm, ‘how happy Thy elect will be; certainly they will rejoice according to the measure of their love, and they will love after the measure of their knowledge. But how great will be their knowledge, and how great their love! Certainly no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered in this life into the heart of man, how much they will know, and love Thee in the world to come. I beseech Thee, O God, that I may know Thee, love Thee, rejoice in Thee; and, if I cannot do so perfectly in this life, that I may at least progress from day to day until I arrive at this perfection. Let my knowledge of Thee progress here, and be perfect there; let my love increase here, and become perfect there, that my joy may be great in hope here, and perfect in possession there. O Lord, Thou biddest and counsellest us to ask through Thy Son, and dost promise that our joy will be full. I beseech Thee, then, O true and faithful God, grant that our joy may be complete. May in the meantime my soul consider it, my tongue speak of it, my heart love it. May my spirit hunger for it, my flesh thirst for it, my whole being desire it, until I enter into the joy of the Lord.'”

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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Then I Shall Know As I Am Known

“Man, inasmuch as he is a reasonable being, bears some resemblance to God, but the distance between his nature and that of God is no less than infinite. God therefore can only be seen at an immeasurable distance. ‘Every one beholdeth Him afar off.’ Creatures only see, as it were, the hem of His garment, the reflex of His glory in His great and glorious creation; He Himself, ‘the invisible King of Ages, whom no man hath seen nor can see, inhabiteth light inaccessible’ (1 Tim 6:16), says the Apostle. Even the Cherubim cover their faces and sink prostrate before Him, in the deepest reverence. God Himself alone can by His nature behold His being; only the ‘only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father,’ and is of the same nature with Him, beholds Him face to face; only the Holy Spirit, who is in God, penetrates and fathoms His innermost nature.”

“To behold God, we must either be God or participate in the Divine Nature. Thus, the spiritual sight of man must become in a sense Divine, and his soul partake of the Divine Nature, if he will see God face to face; and this the Holy Spirit effects in us when by grace He makes us partake of the Divine Nature. For what else is the meaning of these words: ‘Beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Cor 3:18)? St. John teaches likewise: ‘We shall be like to God, because we shall see Him as He is’ (1 John 3:2). Our Lord also at the Last Supper addressed His Father thus: ‘Father, the glory Thou hast given Me, which I had with Thee before the world was, I have given to them’ (John 17:22).”

“In heaven we shall, moreover, know God as He knows Himself, and as He knows us. ‘Then I shall know,’ exclaims the Apostle, ‘even as I am known’ (1 Cor 13:12). . . . Truly we are forced to exclaim with St. Peter: ‘God has called us into His marvellous light.'”

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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We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

“‘I will be as the Most High,’ was the aspiration of Lucifer when he looked upon the glory and beauty with which his Creator had adorned him, and because he wished to possess this glory independently of God he was condemned. But we cannot give God greater praise and render thanks more pleasing to Him than by confessing that by His grace He will make us similar to Himself. Our Lord tells us: ‘Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’; and though these words are doubtless to be understood primarily of moral perfection, they may also be interpreted to mean that we shall partake of the other perfections of God. Accordingly, the poor man—destitute, forsaken, despised by all though he sees himself to be—has no reason to envy the rich man surrounded by friends. For if he is in a state of grace he has the Son of God for his friend, the Paraclete abides in him, and he is a sharer in the riches of the Eternal Father; for Christ has said: ‘The kingdom of God is within you.'”

“But you will answer: ‘All these glories are hidden from me, and of what use is a treasure to me if I do not enjoy it?’ True, it is kept from us during our mortal life; for, as St. John says: ‘We are now the sons of God, but it hath not yet appeared what we shall be when we shall see God as He is.’ As long as the sight of God is withheld from us we cannot see the image of His Divine Nature in us. Grace is, so to speak, the dawn of the light of the Divine Sun, which, when it rises upon us in the everlasting day, will penetrate us with its glory and its heat. Until then we must, in the words of the Apostle, walk by faith and not by sight, trusting in God’s unfailing promises. For ‘by faith,’ says St. Peter, ‘we are kept unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time at the appearing of Jesus Christ’ (1 Pet 1:5). And by Him we have the lively hope of ‘an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that cannot fade, reserved in heaven for us’ (1 Pet 1:4). In grace we have the pledge—ay, the root of—our future glorification in soul and body.”

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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Called to Dwell With God for Eternity

“God only exists by Himself eternal, immutable, and dependent on no one. Creatures are of themselves nothing; they exist only because God has created them and maintains them in existence. ‘I am who am,’ saith the Lord. And ‘all nations are before Him as if they had no being at all, and counted to Him as nothing and vanity’ (Isa 40:17). All creatures, even the immortal spirits, would in virtue of their nature fall back into nothingness if not sustained by the will of God and His good pleasure.”

“Grace therefore, according to St. Paul, is a new creation, and the foundation of a new indestructible kingdom, by means of which we are received into the bosom of the Eternal God by the side of the Eternal Word, by whose power the Father hath created all things and who is co-eternal with Him. Thus, we are called to dwell in the tabernacle of God’s eternity, at the fountain of all being and of all life.”

“Here we need fear neither death nor destruction. Were heaven and earth to pass away, the stars to fall from the heavens and the powers of heaven to be moved, we should not be affected, because we rest, far above creatures, in the bosom of the Creator. Hence the Book of Wisdom says: ‘The just shall live for evermore, and their reward is with the Lord; therefore shall they receive a kingdom of glory, and a crown of beauty at the hand of the Lord, for with His right hand He will cover them, and with His holy arm He will defend them’ (Wis 5:16).”

“Our first parents, following the example of the fallen Angels, willed ‘to be as God.’ Yea, God Himself wills that we be as He; yet not without Him, not outside Him, nor opposed to Him; He wills not that we should make ourselves as other gods to adore ourselves or be adored. He wills that we be as He, but in His bosom, at His heart.”

“What therefore is the folly and crime of the sinner, who rejects the infinite goodness and mercy of God and sets up his judgment and will in opposition to Him!”

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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Participation in the Divine Nature

“‘What is essential and substantial in God,’ says St. Thomas, ‘exists in the soul, which partakes by grace in the Divine love, as a quality superadded to its nature.’ Elsewhere the Angelical Doctor, in agreement with St. Basil, compares the soul to iron, which is in itself cold, black and hard, and without beauty, but when laid in a furnace becomes penetrated by its heat, and, without losing its own nature appears brilliant in colour, flexible, and red-hot. God, we know, dwells in inaccessible light. He is, to use our human words, a furnace of Divine love. God thus, in descending to the creature He has made, or receiving him into His bosom, can without destroying the nature of man penetrate it with His Divine light and heat, so that its natural lowliness and defects disappear, and it is seemingly absorbed altogether in God.”

“Theologians say that a certain participation in the Divine perfections is found in all things that God has created. All things more or less resemble God in their existence, in their life, in their force, or activity; so that, as the Apostles teach, the invisible glory of God may be seen and considered in created things. . . . In material things we see but the print of His footsteps. They may reveal themselves as the work of His hands, but they do not represent His nature. Our souls, and all pure spirits such as the Angels are by their very nature made to the likeness of the Divine Nature; for like God they are spiritual, rational, and possessed of free will. Yet their nature is finite, they are created out of nothing, and if not upheld by their Creator would fall back into nothingness.”

“The participation in the Divine Nature, therefore, which we enjoy by means of grace consists in this, that our nature assumes a condition peculiar to the Divine Nature, and becomes so similar to the Deity that, according to the Fathers of the Church, it is in a sense deified. We do not speak, therefore, of a dissolution of our substance in the Divine Substance or of a personal union with it, such as existed in our Divine Saviour, but only of a glorification of our substance into the image of the Divine Nature. . . . We are made to His likeness in a supernatural manner, and our soul receives a reflex of that glory which belongs to God alone.”

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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Divine Grace: A Wellspring Unto Eternal Life

“The glory of heaven, in which the blessed see and enjoy God, is nothing else but the fruition of the grace given to us here below.”

“Grace is the fountain springing up unto everlasting life; it is the root of which the blossom and fruit is beatitude. ‘The wages of sin is death, but the grace of God life everlasting,’ says the Apostle. The Saints have continually been transported out of themselves at the contemplation of the reward which awaited them. St. Isidore wept over the necessity to eat, because he was compelled like animals to take bodily food, whilst he was destined for the banquet of the Blessed in heaven. But great as the privilege is of participating with the Saints in glory hereafter, there is yet a greater one. For by grace man participates in the uncreated Divine Nature. To speak in more precise terms: man in the state of grace is so superior to all created things because he is so near to God. He partakes of the prerogatives of God as a body partakes of the light and heat of fire in proportion to its proximity to the fire. The Fathers and Doctors of the Church are unanimous in ascribing this meaning to the words of St. Peter, that, ‘by the most great and precious promises God hath made us by Jesus Christ, we may be made partakers of the Divine Nature.’ From this we are to understand that the prerogatives which are above all created nature, and are due to the Divine Nature, are, as far as possible, communicated to our nature.”

“The Saints cannot find words to express the magnificence of this gift. St. Denis says: ‘Sanctity, or sanctifying grace, is a Divine gift, an inexpressible copy of the highest Divinity and the highest goodness, by means of which we enter a Divine rank through a heavenly generation.’ Many of the holy Fathers teach with St. Thomas that by grace we are in a manner deified, and they apply to this mystery the words of our Saviour: ‘I have said you are gods, and all of you sons of the most High.'”

“‘By the union with the Son and the Holy Ghost,’ says St. Cyril of Alexandria, ‘we all, who have believed and have been likened unto God, are partakers of the Divine Nature; not only in name, but in reality, because we have been glorified with a beauty surpassing all created beauty.'”

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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