Are we still able to love God with all our heart without sanctifying grace?

Simple question that came to mind earlier.

I personally believe it takes a lot of grace to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. I pray for this grace all the time. I also believe we will become a saint if and when we are able to do this.

I love God very much. But in confession I say that I have not loved God as I should, or I would not be sinning.

Is it possible to love God without sanctifying grace? Sure, but not as much as we could. The more we sin, the further we distance ourselves from God. If you TRULY love someone, you don’t hurt them, or you try very hard not to injure them. We hurt God when we sin. Actions are more important than words. I very much regret that I have hurt God. It is my desire to stop doing that and to make amends.

When we hurt our spouse or children, we want to make up for it. I must do the same for God. Otherwise, I am just paying lip service.

Yes, this is possible but it would only be a natural love of God, not the infused supernatural love of charity which is a theological virtue without which we cannot get to heaven.

Great question and one that is similar to one I’ve been wondering about.

Loving God is a matter of knowing God, which is impossible, to any personal degree, without grace. He’s revealed to us, usually progressively, as we’re transformed into His image, as we cooperate with His grace, growing in justice, walking in His ways. To know God is to love Him; it cannot be forced. It’s a work of His in us that is the essence of what it means to be just or righteous or holy.

My personal opinion, no I don’t think with all your heart. It’s like loving your wife with all your heart but commit adultery with another woman.

If you sin against God consistently and not be repentant and not be willing to amend that then how are you loving Him with all your heart?

If you have committed a sin, feel repentant and have the intention to go to confession, that’s another matter


It’s not a matter of degree but of kind. Without sanctifying grace, there is no charity in the soul (S.T. IIb, Q. 24, a12):

… every mortal sin is contrary to charity by its very nature, which consists in man’s loving God above all things

… it is evident that through every mortal sin which is contrary to God’s commandments, an obstacle is placed to the outpouring of charity, since from the very fact that a man chooses to prefer sin to God’s friendship, which requires that we should obey His will, it follows that the habit of charity is lost at once through one mortal sin. Hence Augustine says (Gen. ad lit. viii, 12) that “man is enlightened by God’s presence, but he is darkened at once by God’s absence, because distance from Him is effected not by change of place but by aversion of the will.”

I’m not sure I’m buying what you’re selling. I’ve had prayers answered while not having gone to confession having committed a mortal sin. This whole separation from God is rather fanciful.

The Church calls “actual grace” that which God uses to prompt us, enlighten us, encourage and move us to act in some way towards our own good or that of others. It doesn’t mean that we’re not separated from Him in some important manner; it does *not *mean that we possess sanctifying grace; it just means that He’s working in us, never abandoning us even as we may be rejecting Him, by our actions. As St Paul says in Romans 5:20, to paraphrase, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds.” And Rom 5:8, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

This doesn’t mean that He intends to leave us in sin, or will never reach a point where our choices become seen as a permanent option against God and His love:
**1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.**

To FHansen’s answer, I’ll just add this analogy. If you walk away from a close friendship, that person may well still love you and act in your best interests, but they aren’t going to force you to have a close friendship with them.

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