The Nature of Divine Grace

Here and in the next few posts, we shall read excerpts from The Marvels of Divine Grace by Alice Lady Lovat (1846-1938). In this book, she highlights passages from the treatise “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia,” written by the Jesuit theologian and mystic Juan Eusebio Nieremberg (1595-1658). Father Nieremberg’s treatise was published in 1638 in Madrid, where he taught Sacred Scripture at the Jesuit Colegio Imperial. Lovat’s book bears an imprimatur from the Archdiocese of Westminster, dated 1917.

What is Divine grace? “The grace of God is a ray of Divine beauty infused from heaven into the soul of man, and penetrating its innermost nature with such brilliancy and power that the soul delights the eye of God, is most tenderly loved by Him, is adopted as His child, and is elevated above natural limits from earth to heaven. By grace the soul is received into the bosom of the Eternal Father, and at the side of His Son, participates in His nature, His life and glory, and inherits the realms of His eternal happiness.”

“The Angel of the Schools [St. Thomas Aquinas] teaches that the whole world and all it contains is of less value before God than the grace of a single man, and St. Augustine maintains that the whole of heaven, together with all Angels, cannot compare with it. How infinitely superior in value, therefore, is grace to all the riches and pleasures of the world! And yet how often do men, more rash and foolish than Esau, lose an inheritance immeasurably greater than his for the sake of a momentary enjoyment!”

“‘Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this: and ye gates thereof be very desolate’ (Jer 2:12). We disregard grace because we permit ourselves to be too deeply impressed by our senses with the transitory things of this life, and have but a superficial knowledge of true and heavenly things. If we did but approach the inexhaustible fountain of Divine grace, we should learn to esteem and admire it, and accordingly, as St. John Chrysostom says, we should carefully and zealously guard it.”

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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