Grace: Offer and Acceptance

Father Geiermann has these comments to make about God’s offering, and our accepting, grace:

“All who sincerely desire to know and do God’s will, both in regard to the choice of their vocation and the particular obligations of their state in life, have abundant means of grace to enable them to fulfil their part of the divine plan. For, not only does God wish the salvation of all mankind, but He also does all He can, without depriving any one of his free-will, to bring all to life everlasting. God does not command impossibilities, says the Council of Trent, but by commanding admonishes both to do what we can and to pray for what we can not do: and then He will help us to do what we can not do of ourselves.”

“The merits of the Saviour and the mercy of God are, indeed, infinite, but we must dispose ourselves for His grace, by entering the state in life to which He has called us and assuming its obligations, and then freely submit ourselves to His influence by faithful use of the means of grace, before God will help us to work out our salvation.”

“Earnest labor and patient endurance stimulate a healthy appetite both in the physical and spiritual order. We must therefore make an honest effort in the spiritual life to have a relish for grace. If, then, we make use of the means of grace, God will surely aid us to do what we can not do of ourselves.”

“As our souls vivify our bodies and enable them to act, so grace gives us spiritual life and enables us to practise every virtue. The means of obtaining grace, or freely submitting ourselves to God’s influence is to cultivate an intimate union with Jesus Christ by prayer, the reception of the sacraments, participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass, pious use of the sacramentals, gaining indulgences, and cultivating pious practices approved by the Church.” Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

But Father Geiermann cautions: “Fidelity to grace at one time does not confirm us in grace for life. We must, therefore, persevere in the use of the means of grace, if we hope to receive the grace of perseverance.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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