The Meaning of Grace, Charles Journet

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The Meaning of Grace, Charles Journet 

These discourses, given in the chapel at Ecogia, in August 1956, have not been rewritten, but simply retouched. Should they have been published? We have done so; we have tried, very simply, in catechetical fashion, to suggest answers to certain questions, both old and new, that the mystery of grace poses to each one of us, in the hope that the reader will go on to a more profound reading of the scriptural texts. CHARLES JOURNETAugust 1957 + + + CONTENTS PART ONE: GRACE IN ITS ESSENCE I. Habitual grace and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost The Judaeo-Christian revelation of God’s love. —2. The presence of immensity by creation and the presence of indwelling by grace. —3. Difference between human love, which presupposes the being of things, and divine love which creates the being of things. —4. The ‘common’ love of God for all creatures and his ‘special’ love for his friends. —5. The universe of natures and that of grace. —6. Habitual or permanent grace. —7. In what senses is it finite and infinite? —8. Some Scripture texts. —9. Different degrees of grace correspond to different degrees of indwelling. —10. Sons of God, brothers of Jesus, co-heirs with Christ. II. Actual Grace 1. Actual and habitual grace. —2. Divine foreknowledge and human freedom. —3. The scheme of the good act; opposed errors of Pelagius and Luther; the Catholic doctrine. —4. Molinism and Thomism. —5. Divine motion and human freedom. —6. Divine foreknowledge of the good act. —7. The scheme of the bad act. —8. ‘Thy destruction comes from thee, O Israel; from me comes thy help’. —9. Normal and miraculous divine initiatives. —10. Sufficient and efficacious grace: Pascal, the “Lettres Provinciales,” Jansenism. —11. Divine foreknowledge and the initiating of evil acts. —12. The drama of history. —13. Inequality of grace. —14. Charismatic graces in the service of love. III. Predestination 1. The mysteries of grace are mysteries of love accepted or refused. —2. Texts from St. Paul on predestination. —3. Refusal on the part of the non- predestined. —4. The erroneous doctrine of double predestination to hell or to heaven. —5. Predestination as a speculative question and as a cause of personal anxiety. —6. St. Paul’s doctrine on the mystery of Israel: God’s summons, neglected by the mass of the Jews, passes to the Gentiles, but will return to Israel. —7. At the time of Israel’s general defection, ‘a remnant’ remained faithful. —8. Distinction between vocations concerning the present time, in which God is completely free to choose or reject whom he will, and vocations concerning eternal life, in which he is bound by his love. —9. Exposition of Romans IX as applied to vocations concerning the present life. —10. The same concerning eternal life. —11. Conclusion. IV. Justification, merit, consciousness of the state of grace 1. What is ‘justification’? —2. ‘God does not justify thee without thyself’. —3. The stages of justification. —4. Justification a greater work than creation. —5. Miraculous types of justification. —6. Is venial sin always avoidable? Does it lessen sanctifying grace? To what degree is grace, once lost, regained? —8. The doctrine of ‘merit’. —9. Our merits are gifts of God. —10. Merit and reward. —11. Can one merit for another? Merit “de congruo” means more than simple prayer. —12. Can we merit temporal goods? —13. Can we merit the grace of final perseverance? —14. Can we ‘know’ if we are in the state of grace? The Protestant view. —15. The Catholic view: no absolute certainty apart from the case of confirmation in grace. —16. The reason for this. —17. Moral or practical certainty of the state of grace: the signs of the state of grace. —18. Fluctuations of conscience. PART TWO: THE EXISTENTIAL STATES OF GRACE V. The first existential state: the earthly paradise or the state of Adam 1. The existential states of grace. —2. The first proclamation of the Judaeo-Christian revelation was an answer to the problem of evil. —3. God could have created man in the state of pure nature, that is in a tragic and divided state. —4. In fact, he created him in a state of harmony. —5. Invisible supernatural gifts and visible preternatural ones. —6. Physiological state of the first man. —7. Era of religion without intermediary. —8. The age of Adam’s grace the age of the Father. —9. Myths of a ‘golden age’. —10. Effects of the fall. —11. The window in Sens cathedral. —12. The fall permitted in order to replace Adam’s grace in the universe of creation by Christian grace in the universe of redemption. —13. Christ’s universe better than that of the first Adam. VI. The second existential state: Christian grace ‘by anticipation’ under the law of nature and under the Mosaic law 1. The breakdown of Adam’s grace. —2. Recapitulation of the universe of Christ and Christian grace by anticipation. —3. Grace under the regime of the law of nature. —4. Outward forms of worship. —5. Holiness always possible under the law of nature. —6. Sporadic mediation of prophecy and mediation of the sacraments. —7. The forces of evil. —8. Grace under the Mosaic law. —9. Continuity of prophecy and divine institution of the sacrament. —10. The same grace orientates Jews and Gentiles towards Christ. —11. Christianity existed in an initial state before Christ. —12. Christ’s cross threw its shadow over the world from the time of the fall. — 13. It is Christian grace that is offered to children at the dawning of their moral life. VII. The third existential state: Christian grace by derivation 1. The age of Christ’s presence: the entire Church gathered up in the Virgin Mary. —2. The age of the Holy Ghost- Christian grace by derivation. —3. Derivation by contact and at a distance. —4. The mystery of derivation by contact. —5. Grace that is fully Christian is the condition for a more intimate mode of indwelling by the divine Persons. —6. With fullness of mediation appears fullness of grace. —7. The graces of contact come to us through the hierarchy. —8. Christian grace is orientated. —9. It is sacramental. VIII. The fourth and fifth existential states: Uncovenanted Christian graces. Beatifying and transfiguring grace 1. The apostles had to take to the ends of the earth the graces of contact that constitute the Church in her completed state. —2. Resistance of the powers of evil: these are active even within Christians. —3. Pre-Christian religion. —4. Judaism. —5. Islam. —6. Dissident sects. —7. The world of atheism. —8. Uncovenanted Christian graces. —9. The Church shares in their distribution. —10. They constitute the Church in an initial and restricted state. —11. A few examples: from India. —12. From Judaism. —13. From Islam. —14. The different erroneous religions form round the Church zones less and less favorable to the penetration of Christian grace. —15. Is the distinction between graces of contact and graces at a distance to persist to the end of time? —16. Final existential state of Christian grace: beatifying and transfiguring grace.


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