Grace: Godâ€™s Life within You
You are probably familiar with the distinction made between habitual grace (the state of sanctifying grace) and actual grace (divine help given for the performing of acts)These are two aspects of the life you live when you possess grace itself :the spirit of God who is poured into our heartsâ€(Rom 5:5).
Grace basically, ids the presence, to you of godâ€™s living, dynamic spirit .As a result of this presence, you are alive with a new, abundant inner life which makes you a â€œpartaker of the divine natureâ€ (2 pt 1:4), a son or daughter of God, and a brother or sister â€“ a fellow their â€“ with â€˜Jesus, â€œthe first born among many brethrenâ€ (read Paulâ€™s letter to the Romans, chapter 8).
As a result of the Spiritâ€™s presence, you live a â€œgracedâ€ life that is good, really pleasing to God. Under the spiritâ€™s influence you live a life of love that builds up Christâ€™s body, the church. Being â€œin the spiritâ€ with the rest of the Church, you live with others in such a way as to build a spirit of love and community wherever you are.
Grace â€“ Godâ€™s life with in you â€“ transforms the whole meaning and direction of your life. In grace, saint Paul declared: â€œfor me to live is Christ, and to die is gainâ€(Phil 1:21) . Ultimately, grace â€“Godâ€™s free gift of himself to you â€“ is life eternal, a life that has already in you, the hope of gloryâ€ (Col 1:27).
Faith, Hope, and Charity
As a human being, you are capable of believing, trusting, and loving others, Grace transforms these ways you relate to another persons into the technological (God â€“directed) virtues of faith, hope, and charity â€“ capabilities to relate to God and others as one of his dearly loved sons and daughters.
In the state of grace, you have faith: you believe in God, Committing your total being to him as the personal source of all truth and reality and of your own being. You have hope: you rest your whole meaning and future on God, whose promise to you of life everlasting with him is being fulfilled in hidden manner even now through your graced existence. And you have Charity: you love God as the personal for all of your life and all persons as shares in the destiny God desires for all â€“ everlasting communication with himself.
(If a person alienates himself from God by serious sin, he losses habitual grace and the virtue of charity. But this loss does not take away his faith or hope unless he sins directly and seriously against these virtues.)
Love for God, Self Others
In this life your God is bound together with your love of others â€“ and these loves are bound together with your love to self. You do not love God whom you cannot see unless you love your neighbor whom you can see (1 Jn 4:20). And by Godâ€™s own commandment, you are love to your neighbor as you your self (Mt 19:19: 22:39). When it comes to practical, real â€“life terms, fulfillment of Godâ€™s Commandment to love God as he wills, you need to respect, esteem, and reverence yourself.
You increase your love of self by allowing yourself to realize, gradually and more deeply as the years go on, that God really loves you with a love that has no end. You are loved and you are lovable. Whenever you try to acquire or deepen this attitude about yourself, you are cooperating with grace of God.
You also increase your love for self by trying to deepen your understanding of those around you; by listening ,and trusting ; by loving and (what is more difficult ) allowing yourself to be loved; by widening your circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
There is a basic principle in the New Testament writings of Saint John that goes: â€œBeloved, let us love one another; for love is God, and he who loves is born of god and Knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love â€œ(1 Jn 4:7-8), you learn what love is by loving you come to know God.