THE Essence of Grace
It is a Judeo-Christian revelation that God loves us.
We will never completely understand God's love for us.
The first act in which God pours out Himself for us is in creation.
God is in creation as the Cause of it; but He also transcends creation.
The second act in which God pours out Himself is indwelling.
This refers to God pouring out Himself to a greater extent to those who love Him and are open to His grace. It is more secret and more hidden.
God cannot dwell in material things this way, but indwelling only occurs with spirits. The extent of God's indwelling in a soul is conditioned by the extent that grace has transformed the soul and prepared it for divine indwelling.
The word "grace" has three interdependent senses:
God's love pours out being and goodness into things.
Man's love builds on the being and goodness already in things.
God's uncreated favour (grace) is given to us, symbolized by a gift, which moves us to thanksgiving.
God's love can be divided into two "kinds":
i. common love = God's general love for all created things
ii. special love = God's love which purifies man and makes rational man a sharer in divine life
There are, then, two universes:
i. the universe of natures = the universe of animals, plants, rocks, man, angels, etc.... The
connection between God and man is not found here.
ii. the universe of the supernatural = the universe of man redeemed in Christ;
man's nature elevated by grace. God comes out to meet man.
God does not use us as occasions for grace. No, He has created the universe of natures, with us in it, and He allows everything to act on its own, in its own way.
God puts in us a permanent quality called habitual grace. Habitual grace is not like a ray of light that passes through us, then lets us fall back into sin; habitual grace is a permanent enriching with the roots of love, enabling us to willingly perform acts of love.
This permanent state is referred to as "being in the state of grace".
Grace is a participation in the Divine Nature. It is both finite and infinite.
Grace is a finite participation in the infinite divine nature.
Biblical examples of Divine Indwelling:
1 Cor 3:16-17
1 Cor 6:19-20
2 Cor 6:16
The indwelling of the Divine Persons is the source, grace is the effect. You do not have grace unless you first have the Holy Trinity dwelling within your soul.
If grace makes us participators in the Divine Nature, then grace makes us children of God.
If Jesus is also the Son of God, then we are his brothers and sisters.
If Jesus is heir, we shall be coheirs.
Jesus is Son of God by nature, we are children of God by creation and adoption.
We are children of God by adoption because of the free effect of Divine Goodness (grace)--by a finite participation in the infinite nature of God.