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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