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Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings

Medjugorje, Message 25 June 2014

Dear children! The Most High is giving me the grace that I can still be with you and to lead you in prayer towards the way of peace.

Did Mary get unmerited favor of God so that she could appear to visionaries? This makes sense because there is nothing she can do in heaven to be granted this grace. So the definition of grace is valid.

But...on earth...

I always thought that we get graces when we pray, do good deeds and so on. So grace comes through some kind of action. So if Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God we would all be living in a state of full grace unless God doesn't want that. But I guess he would want that. So the definition of grace isn't valid for the people living on earth...

my question is how grace can be the free and unmerited favor of God if in order to get it we need to do something(i.e. pray). If we don't need to do anything then we should all be full of grace...

  • In case I don't have time for a full, cited answer later: Everyone is suitably "en-graced" for their particular calling. We don't merit grace by any action. But, our actions can be the vehicles by which grace is delivered or manifest. Similarly, our actions and inactions can also block grace. So, at any given point in time, God's got a mission for you. He pumps you full of the necessary graces to accomplish that mission. Your decision to respond to God takes the form of prayer and good action. Grace becomes manifest. Inaction and explicit sin impedes that grace. – svidgen Aug 21 '14 at 16:28
  • so it is the opposite? We get grace first and then we do the action? But then people can be passive and say, well God didn't give me enough grace... – Grasper Aug 21 '14 at 16:43
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    I cannot answer this question since you asked for a Catholic response, but may I point out that in your opening statement you said Grace is unmerited. To my understanding unmerited means something that cannot be earned, and if that is true anything you do either before or after Grace then is insignificant since it is freely given by God. – BYE Aug 21 '14 at 17:25
  • @Bye, yes, so how come some people are able of greater acts than others. Or what is it that God will give more grace to certain people and others comes short? – Grasper Aug 21 '14 at 17:41
  • As I said before I am not a Catholic, and so what Catholics consider Grace and what I consider Grace may be very different, But in my world you appear to confusing Grace with ability. In my world God's grace is that he will forgive our sins for what Jesus did. Ability is what God gives each of us to do his bidding. Perhaps my commenting on your question was a bad idea, because it seems to added confusion, for that I apologize. – BYE Aug 21 '14 at 18:27
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Firstly, Medjugorje is a false apparition.

Secondly:

I always thought that we get graces when we pray, do good deeds and so on. So grace comes through some kind of action.

We can make ourselves more cooperative with and receptive to God's graces by praying, but our actions do not of themselves produce grace; otherwise, we would be able to save ourselves on our own accord and without God's supernatural help, which is the Pelagian heresy, that Christ's passion, by which he merited us graces, isn't necessary for our salvation. The sacraments actually produce grace of themselves (ex opere operato), though.

There are many types of grace. Some God freely gives (e.g., the grace to convert a sinner toward prayer and repentance). Others are merited. There are sanctifying, gratuitous, cooperating, and operating graces (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas's Treatise on Grace in his Summa Theologica).

Read Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.'s introduction to his commentary on the treatise on grace of St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica. It presents all the various meanings of the word grace (χάρις or "charis" in Greek) as well as the misconceptions (errors) people have historically had regarding grace.

  • except that Medjugorie is false it sounds like a good answer. – Grasper Aug 25 '14 at 14:29
  • @Grasper: The Blessed Virgin Mother would not utter heresies like "for God all the religions are the same", nor would she say, like Luther, to pray "as" sinners and pray the Our Father or Hail Mary. See this. – Geremia Aug 26 '14 at 5:57
  • you need to look at Benedict XVI clarification on what it means that salvation can't be outside of Catholic Church. And it is true that "for God all the religions are the same" but not for Catholics. Once you are catholic you need to stay catholic otherwise you might miss the salvation. And that's the point. – Grasper Aug 26 '14 at 14:13
  • @Grasper Benedict XVI's views on extra Ecclesiam nulla salus are not orthodox; see the Council of Florence / Pope Eugune IV's Cantate Domino or this article, which contains magisterial pronouncements on the necessity of the Catholic Church. If "for God all the religions are the same", then why did he bother founding the religion on the crucifix or why did He bother to say: "He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth." (Mt. 10:30)? – Geremia Aug 26 '14 at 21:21
  • @germia, you need to understand Christianity more. Just because someone is in different religion doesn't mean is against Jesus. In every valid religion people aim for perfection and search God. – Grasper Aug 27 '14 at 13:08
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Starting with a definition of grace

CCC 1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. [cf. Jn 1:12-18; 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4.]

Followed by a definition of prayer

Penny Catechism, 141
What is prayer?
Prayer is the raising up of the mind and heart to God.

Understanding the question, if grace is from God, why Mary?

A. Because God, in his goodness has wanted his creatures, as his instruments, his servants, and ultimately as his children, to participate in his works, which include those of grace. Mary case is unique, she is not the source of grace, but the Mediatrix of all graces, i.e., through whom all graces are distributed and come to us. Easy to understand because the source of grace, Jesus, came through her.

I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding awhile back and if I recall correctly, the mother was explaining to the bride to be the relationship in a home, between husband and wife, how the wife is like the neck, pointing the head to where it should look. Borrowing, we can think of Mary mediatrix as who through whom all that flows to the [Mystical] body and from the body to the head[=Christ], passes.

Prefacing before answering the other question posed, I did not follow the logic that concludes that we are full of grace, because, we are not and we need only look at ourselves, and at the world around us.

If God gives it freely, why do we need to pray?

A. Praying being raising our mind (thinking of him) and heart (loving him) to God, talking with him, is what a good child does with a Father who madly loves them.

Praying for grace, he has it, we do not. It is what a needy child does before his [almighty] Father, who cannot deny him anything that is good for them.[cf. Mt 7:11]

cf. Lk 11:13 (RSVCE)
13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

cf. II. Grace | Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1996-2005 esp. 2003


Closing note: A catholic ought to be obedient and submit to the Church's judgment on the supposed Marian apparitions at Medjugorje.

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