This question reminded me of a question I've had for a long time: What is the Catholic concept of grace?
A look at the dictionary says:
- favor or goodwill. Synonyms: kindness, kindliness, love, benignity; condescension.
- a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior: It was only through the dean's grace that I wasn't expelled from school. Synonyms: forgiveness, charity, mercifulness. Antonyms: animosity, enmity, disfavor.
- mercy; clemency; pardon: He was saved by an act of grace from the governor. Synonyms: lenity, leniency, reprieve. Antonyms: harshness.
I've always felt that #3 was the most relevant in the context of Christianity, but the way I have heard Catholics and Catholic literature speak about the topic, it seems there is a more specific, and almost "tangible" concept of grace (and graces) at work.
The above mentioned question uses the phrases
...the same graces... and
But what graces are not conferred...?
As I'm accustomed to "the grace of God" being a singular (or perhaps mass) noun, the concept of "graces" confuses me.