Thursday 21st September 2017

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God The Sanctifier Of Men… The Pearl Of Great Price

September 10, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 2

Holy Mother Church compares sanctifying grace to the “Pearl of Great Price,” which a merchant bought by selling everything he had. It is our ticket to Heaven to eternal happiness in the contemplation of the infinite Beauty of God in the Beatific Vision.
For us to have an idea of the value of sanctifying grace, we can consider the price that was paid for it: the price was the Life-Blood of the Son of God. I recommend that we watch from time to time the movie The Passion of the Christ to renew in our minds the idea of the price paid by the Innocent One par excellence to atone for us miserable sinners.
More: He loved us so much that the whole world and all it contains is of less value in the eyes of God than the grace in a single human soul.
Yes, divine grace is a higher life, a participation in the very divinity.
We should not just read these words and pass on to the next ones. We must stop and consider what it means: The very thing that Lucifer wanted to obtain by himself, and failed; the very thing that our first parents, Adam and Eve, wanted to obtain by obeying the word of the enemy, and failed; that is the thing that our Lord Jesus Christ obtained for us by His sacrifice: the possibility to participate in the divine!
God gave us spiritual, immortal souls, which animate our bodies. And these souls of ours give us three kinds of life:
The soul gives us “vegetative life,” whereby we are able to feed ourselves, grow, mature, and reproduce, just like a plant. It gives us “sensitive life,” whereby we are able to feel and move, like the lower animals. It gives us “intellectual life,” whereby we are able to think, reason, contemplate, distinguish between truth and error, and choose freely between good and evil.
But we do not have three souls, but only one. And here is a reflection of the Holy Trinity: three persons in one God, three faculties in one soul. One soul empowered with the faculties, namely, sensibility, intellect, and will. By our sensibility we sense the world around us, and apprehend the reality of things. By our intellect we analyze what we have apprehended, we distinguish between what is real and what is not, what is true and what is not true. And by our will we choose good or evil, what leads to happiness or what leads to unhappiness.
But there is still a higher life that we may receive, a divine life, a supernatural life, a life which, by a true and real change, raises us above the natural excellence of the most exalted creatures, and sets us, so to speak, on a level with God Himself; a life which places us inside the veil that God has hung between Himself and His creation; a life which gives us a share in what is special to God Himself, a share in the knowledge God has of His own perfections and in the happiness He derives from it. This life is given to us by sanctifying grace.
Again, folks, read the previous paragraph, slowly, to grasp the marvelousness of God’s plan for us: not only to be like Him in Heaven, but to begin His life in us right here in our daily lives!
One thing we must clearly understand in order to grow in strength, in virtue, is the fact that the state of grace is not merely the absence of mortal sin; just as health is not merely the absence of disease; or good the mere absence of evil; or knowledge the mere absence of ignorance. No, the state of grace is a positive acquisition of a divine reality in us and the elevation of our nature to a higher state.
“If anyone is in Christ,” says St. Paul, “he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).
God became man, so that man might, in a sense, become God, said St. Augustine, who was one of the greatest minds of all times. Thus, St. Peter says that, through Christ, the Father “has granted to us His precious and very great promises, that through these you may . . . become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
St. John says, “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2), and the Church prays at the offertory of the Mass that “we may be made sharers in the divinity of Him who deigned to participate in our humanity.”
Do we realize the magnitude of the grandeur of God’s plan for us?
Let us move on a little further into this path toward total happiness: Yes, sanctifying grace makes us children of God. We humans, as rational creatures, by nature we are merely creatures of God, servants of His Majesty, but not His children. With divine grace, which we first receive in our Baptism, we are adopted into the Royal Family, children of the King.

Missionary Zeal

“See what love the Father has given us,” says St. John, “that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1); “God sent forth His Son,” says St. Paul, “that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5); “we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17-19).
Christ alone is the Son of the Father by nature; we are God’s children by adoption, and the adopted children of the whole Trinity.
When St. Paul the Apostle speaks of “adoption,” he has in mind the Roman practice by which a child was transferred by a process of the law from the family of his birth to the family of his adoption. He was admitted to all the dignity and intimacy of a child born of the blood; he acquired a strict right to inherit (“heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” as St. Paul puts it); and thereafter, he identified himself with the traditions, the honor, and the interests of his new family.
It is somewhat in this way that we are transferred by sanctifying grace from the family of mankind to the family of God: We acquire the claim of children to His affection and intimacy. We are raised, as far as possible for creatures, to His dignity. His honor becomes ours; His friends become ours; and we receive from His hands the right to enter like heirs into the possession of such a share of His Kingdom as He appoints for us.
Friends, do we understand the dignity of being a Christian, a member of Jesus’ Church? What a tragedy that so many of us, including clergy, have lost the missionary zeal to bring others into such a grand dignity!

+ + +

(Raymond de Souza, KM, is available to speak at Catholic events anywhere in the free world in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Please email Sacred
HeartMedia@Outlook.com or visit www.RaymonddeSouza.com or phone 507-450-4196 in the United States.)

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