Will and Grace

And no, I’m not talking about the television show. Although, when I was contemplating this question I have, which I’m about to ask, the thought of the show solidified in my mind, and I got a nice chuckle, because it actually made sense why the show was called “Will AND Grace”.

I need help in understanding how our free will and grace cooperate. I’ve been reading a lot of threads here, and trying to study up on the (my) Catholic faith, and I still don’t quite have a perfect grasp of this concept, and may never have.

If we have free will, we can choose to, for every action, or non-action, decide what we do, with near infinite possibilities. Those actions are our sole responsibility. So how then is it that we can do nothing (good) without grace? If grace were the sole source of action, then how do we still have free will? I sort of understand that we are given grace and then we can choose to cooperate with it. But I still have a difficult time rectifying the two. I in some sense feel that the grace in some way negates the will.

My intention is to really just get a clear picture of how the two work together. In no way am I intending to not believe in either of these things or God’s awesomeness, or to commit some sort of apostasy.

Thanks!

Grace perfects nature, it doesn’t destroy it. It is essential for good acts, but not, by itself, sufficient for them (we must also cooperate with the grace God gives us).

If you really want to dig into this I recommend checking out St. Thomas Aquinas’ treatment of the topic in the *Summa Theologiae *. Follow this link and scroll down to the “grace” section.

Though I never watched the show I was wondering why you believe it was called by that name?From my limited understanding its main characters were a homosexual lawyer and a heterosexual femaleJewish businesswoman

I never watched the show either. I am not into junk tv, like you. For whatever reason, some silly light bulb went off in my head that connected what I was thinking about God’s gift of free “will” to us and God’s “grace” to the name of this show and it made me chuckle. I’m sure the writers may have had some sick secular distorted view of “will” and “grace” and thought it would be funny to name the show based on a mocking attitude of those things. For that, I do not laugh.

I guess the connection would be that the two “will” AND “grace” have to go together, and thus the name of the show (even if the name was for all the wrong reasons and the show was about sinning).

Grace draws us-without force. But without it we won’t come. Its very subtle,. We have a very radical degree of freedom-not necessarily perfect freedom though. In any case it’s a matter of the will: the more we choose, for ourselves, to do the right thing, the greater our justice -the greater our* perfection.*And justice is a moving target; we can continue to grow in it, as Trent taught. This, in my understanding, is because justice or holiness or righteousness are most correctly defined by the term love, the very nature of God Whose image we’re to be transformed into, and that love is infinite. Grace, when cooperated with, results in even more grace given.

**"1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom. On man’s part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:

When God touches man’s heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God’s grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight."**

Free will is about having a life. Grace is about fulfilling that life. When God gives you grace He gives you life. And through grace our lives are fulfilled. Coming to Jesus is about realizing what the Word of God says to you. And if the Word of God speaks to you then you must be listening. If the Word of God speaks to you then you have His Grace. Grace is not manipulation. Grace is about coming to know God as He truly exists so that He can give you your life as He intended you to be.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.