”Great things are done through grace, and one attribute of the great things which grace enables the soul to do is their lastingness, their continuance, their permanent life and strength, as years roll past. I say, the works of grace are permanent.”
— Bl. John Henry Newman, p. 184 “The Quotable Newman”
What is Grace? In the definition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “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”. Grace is a participation in the life of God, which is poured unearned into human beings, whom it heals of sin and sanctifies. Grace frankly is the gift that God gives us freely to become more like Him. You would think that a gift like grace would be lasting, or permanent, but we must constantly refresh our hearts through our own acts of faith (doing the work), and taking care of ourselves and our own spirituality (doing the maintenance) to ensure we remain righteous. In James 2:
Faith and Works
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?
17 So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
So clearly the gift of grace requires that we share it with others. “Faith without works is dead.” according to James 2:17. It is grace that calls us to be more like Christ and these acts of faith help us move closer to our God. These acts of faith help grow the kingdom of God in ourselves and in others. That being said, don’t forget about the care and feeding needed by your own soul. We must continually reflect on and address those times we did not live the life of righteousness expected of us. How do we do these maintenance activities? Well, prayer and the righteous life go hand in hand, but we as Catholics have the gifts of the Sacraments to refresh and heal our souls. How many of us have experienced the transforming and healing power of the Eucharist? The “Sacraments of Initiation” cleanse us from Original Sin and then give us as young adults the opportunity to say “Yes” for ourselves to God through Confirmation. The “Sacraments of Healing” (Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick) heal our bodies and souls so that we can live the life that God has asked of us and that calls us to be more like Him leading us to our eternal reward.