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).

Announcement: You can now follow the four SaintlySages blogs on SaintlySages Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/SaintlySages-131108567633967/ ). God bless!

Advertisements
Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Theology, Wisdom

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).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Theology, Wisdom

Divine Grace: The Greatest Wonder

“Although we do not produce grace in ourselves, yet we can, with the Divine assistance, prepare ourselves for it and make ourselves worthy of it; may encourage and induce others to do the same.”

“The work of grace is the greatest wonder of God’s omnipotence. It is greater than the creation of the world out of nothing, and can only be compared with the unspeakable act of God the Father in which He produced from all eternity His co-equal Son, and in time united with Him a human nature. As supernatural and sublime as is the generation of Christ, so is the infusion of grace into our souls.”

“In working miracles the Saints do but co-operate with God, who acts through and by means of them. But in grace we do more; for God wills that we should with His assistance prepare our souls for it, receive it from His hand, preserve, cultivate, and increase it.”

“No greater work can be given to man to accomplish than to labour to acquire and increase grace in himself and in his fellow-men.”

“Oh if men could only realize the greatness of the act that is performed when by sincere contrition for their past sins they abandon their past and begin a new life.”

“When our souls are in a state of grace, every degree of grace that we acquire raises us higher above our nature and unites us more closely to God. If we could reflect how every good work we perform has the power of increasing our grace, and thus adding to our eternal happiness, we should let no moment pass without loving God, adoring Him, and uniting our acts and intentions with His; we should even rejoice with the Apostles that we are accounted worthy to suffer for the Name of Jesus.”

“The infusion and communication of grace is a miracle of the highest order; why does it not excite our wonder and admiration? Only because it is invisible to our corporal sight, and does not occur, like other miracles, rarely and exceptionally, but universally and according to fixed laws.”

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).

Announcement: You can now follow the four SaintlySages blogs on SaintlySages Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/SaintlySages-131108567633967/ ). God bless!

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Theology, Wisdom

Divine Grace: A Most Precious Gift

“The least prerogative of grace is that it is infinitely above all natural things. ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, according to the assurance of our Saviour,’ says St. Augustine, ‘but the salvation and justice of the elect will remain; for the former contain only the works of God, the latter the image of God.'”

“St. Thomas, again, teaches that it is a greater work to bring a sinner back to grace than to create heaven and earth. For the objects of the latter work are temporary; the former work is so much greater because it leads to the participation in the immutable Divine Nature. In creation God erects for Himself a dwelling only; in giving man a rational nature He places His servants and His creatures in this dwelling, but when He gives man His grace He receives Him into His bosom, makes him His child, and communicates to him His own eternal life.”

“St. Augustine remarks that nature is related to grace in the same way as inanimate matter is to living organisms. Lifeless matter cannot itself give life, but must receive it from another living being.”

“Grace is as a heavenly light which diffuses itself from the depths of the Divinity on the rational creature. The sun pours down its light on the earth, and our nature, like the earth, receives the rays of the Divine Sun and becomes glorified and illuminated by them. Now, as God, whom we possess by grace, not only contains within Himself the perfection of all things, but is infinitely more perfect than all things put together, so grace is more precious than all created things. To despise these great gifts which are offered to us by God with such tender love would be to draw down upon ourselves the punishment of the men in the Gospel, who, having been invited to the king’s banquet, made frivolous excuses to stay away.”

“The least degree of grace is worth more than all the riches of the world. We are not required to shed our blood in this labour. One sign is sufficient, one earnest resolution, one pious wish; the holy Name by which we express our love for Him or invoke His assistance. Who would not gladly invoke Jesus a thousand times a day if he could thereby obtain as many coffers of gold? And yet what is gold untold in comparison to the spiritual treasures which God is prepared to bestow on us by means as simple and easy as these?”

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).

Announcement: You can now follow the four SaintlySages blogs on SaintlySages Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/SaintlySages-131108567633967/ ). God bless!

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Theology, Wisdom

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).

Announcement: You can now follow the four SaintlySages blogs on SaintlySages Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/SaintlySages-131108567633967/ ). God bless!

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Theology, Wisdom

Piety in the Body of Christ

Father Guibert cites St. Paul’s teaching that all the baptized make up the body of Christ: “Christians are the members, and Christ Himself is the head of it. Just as in a living organism order demands that all the members shall be subject to the head, and that all the members shall work in harmony to serve the head, so in the Church. . . . Christians are not jealous of one another; but each fulfils the part, however humble it may be, that is assigned to him.”

But Christ is more than the head of a society. He gives life to the members. “His Spirit inspires life and movement everywhere. Every good thought, every noble feeling, and every virtuous action, proceeds from its inspiration or His grace. . . . The duties which, during His mortal life, He began to carry out for His Father, these He still fulfils throughout the ages and all over the world, in the heart of each Christian and in the whole assembly of the elect.”

“Would you not lend yourself to all His plans in regard to yourself? After having been received as a member of His sacred body, would you rebel against the head that directs you, or—what shall I say?—against the heart that gives you life?”

“The word that through your piety He speaks within you reverberates in the hearts of all believers who live on Him. Thanks, then, to His action in you, your prayer has, as it were, a divine echo, and its sound goes forth through all the Church. And, with a wonderful reaction, the prayers inspired by Jesus in all other Christians are repeated in your own heart, so that it is the mighty voice of the whole Church that re-echoes in you. Such is the law of the living body. The activity of the humblest part is felt through the whole organism; but, in return for this, the work of the whole organism benefits the humblest of the parts.”

“If piety procures for the soul of the Christian this beneficent Communion of the Saints, if it evokes the ineffable joy of feeling that the least of prayers has its value for the whole Church, and that all the prayers of the Church have their value for the least of souls, this is because piety, instead of being a motion limited to one poor human heart, is the very life of Jesus Christ in a state of activity within each believer.”

Quotations from Jean Guibert, On Piety (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1911).

Announcement: You can now follow the four SaintlySages blogs on SaintlySages Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/SaintlySages-131108567633967/ ). God bless!

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Theology, Wisdom

A Life of Piety in Christ

Father Guibert states: “In the person of Jesus Christ [God] vouchsafes to make Himself seen and heard and touched, and He further vouchsafes to make His presence perceptible in our midst under the Eucharistic species until the end of time. If, then, it be in Jesus Christ that the Christian possesses his God, Jesus Himself will be the first principle of his life of piety, Jesus Himself will call forth the feelings of love and acts of prayer that bring God within us, and it is from Jesus that we shall get the fruitful activity which is piety.”

“That He is the soul of our piety, He Himself tells us in the Gospel: ‘Where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matt 18:20). When Jesus says to His disciples, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me’ (John 14:6), He evidently puts Himself forward as the religious Mediator who is necessary for us to go to God by means of piety. And He reveals to us a still closer intimacy: ‘Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.’ (John 15:4)”

“Jesus lives in us to shape our prayers, and He gives us His Spirit to be the soul of our religion. ‘The Spirit,’ says St. Paul, ‘helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. And He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth; because He asketh for the saints according to God.’ (Rom 8:26, 27) He says elsewhere in his epistles: ‘Because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father’ (Gal 4:6). . . . Our life of piety belongs to [Christ] even more than it does to us. It is sufficiently our own for us to get the merit of it; but it so far belongs to Him that we are bound to give Him all the glory of it.”

Quotations from Jean Guibert, On Piety (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1911).

Announcement: You can now follow the four SaintlySages blogs on SaintlySages Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/SaintlySages-131108567633967/ ). God bless!

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Christianity, Faith, Inspiration, Meditation, Prayer, Religion, Theology, Wisdom