son” he can henceforth call God “Father,” in union with the only
Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him
and who forms the Church.
This vocation to eternal life is
entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and
give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as
that of every other creature.
The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to
us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal
it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the
received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of
Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old
has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from
God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.
Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and super
natural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live
with God, to act by his love.
the permanent disposi
tion to live and act in keeping with God’s call, is distinguished from
which refer to God’s interventions, whether at the be
ginning of conversion or in the course of the work of
preparation of man
for the reception of grace is already a
work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our
collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification
through charity. God brings to completion in us what he has begun,
“since he who completes his work by cooperating with our will
began by working so that we might will it:”
Indeedwe alsowork, but we are only collaboratingwithGod
who works, for his mercy has gone before us. It has gone
before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that
once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that
we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified;
it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows
us so that we may always live with God: for without himwe
can do nothing.
50 St. Augustine,
De gratia et libero arbitrio,
17: PL 44, 901.
51 St. Augustine,
De natura et gratia,
31: PL 44, 264.