✟ Sanctifying Grace ✟
Truth of Faith

Sanctifying Grace constitutes the indwelling of the Holy
Trinity, life in the soul, and a share in God's Divine life.

Lay Catechist Notes on Sanctifying Grace
The goal of every human being should be to live, every day and in every moment, in a "State of Grace".

Being in a "State of Grace" means having "Sanctifying Grace" and, therefore, union and friendship with God. When Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, they lost Sanctifying Grace and therefore friendship with God (and the claim to the inheritance of Heaven - the Beatific Vision). This "Fallen Nature" has been infallibly taught by the Catholic Church as being transmitted to every human being ever created - "transmitted by natural generation" - a Dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.

Baptism removes Original Sin as well as bestows on the individual "Sanctifying Grace". Sanctifying Grace is, in one term, the "soul of the soul", and is what entitles a person to the "Beatific Vision" (seeing God face-to-face) and life eternal with God in Heaven. Sin, especially mortal sin, extinguishes Sanctifying Grace and cuts off the individual from friendship with God. Sanctifying Grace and a return to a "State of Grace" is available through the sacrament of Penance, where a Priest (acting as Christ) has the power to absolve sins.

A person who dies in mortal sin (without Sanctifying Grace) enters Hell; those who die in the grace of God (i.e. have Sanctifying Grace) are awarded a share of eternal life in Heaven (see the Dogmas of "God the Consummator - For the Individual Human").

This is also why the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is so imperative for those on the threshold of death; Anointing of the Sick removes the guilt of both mortal and venial sins from the individual and restores "Sanctifying Grace" in the person's soul.

"Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

"The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification"

Defined Dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church
God the Sanctifier
Divine Revelation (Scriptural Proof)
  • 15For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). (Romans 8:15)
  • 4By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world. (2 Peter 1:4)
  • 23Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
  • 1Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him. (1 John 3:1)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • 2000 Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God's call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God's interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.
  • 2003 Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning "favor," "gratuitous gift," "benefit." Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church.
  • 2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God's mercy.
  • 2023 Sanctifying grace is the gratuitous gift of his life that God makes to us; it is infused by the Holy Spirit into the soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.
  • 2024 Sanctifying grace makes us "pleasing to God." Charisms, special graces of the Holy Spirit, are oriented to sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. God also acts through many actual graces, to be distinguished from habitual grace which is permanent in us.
Ecumenical Council Documents
  • General Council of Vienne (1311)
    • Decrees - "...sanctifying grace and the virtues are conferred in baptism on both infants and adults, as more probable and more in harmony with the words of the saints and of modern doctors of theology."
Papal Encyclical Documents
  • Divinum Illud Munus (1897) - Divine Mission - Leo XIII
    • "They say that God is present and exists in all things, 'by His power, in so far as all things are subject to His power; by His presence, inasmuch as all things are naked and open to His eyes; by His essence, inasmuch as he is present to all as the cause of their being.' But God is in man, not only as in inanimate things, but because he is more fully known and loved by him, since even by nature we spontaneously love, desire, and seek after the good. Moreover, God by grace (sanctifying grace) resides in the just soul as in a temple, in a most intimate and peculiar manner. From this proceeds that union of affection by which the soul adheres most closely to God, more so than the friend is united to his most loving and beloved friend, and enjoys God in all fullness and sweetness."
    • "Now this wonderful union, which is properly called "indwelling," differing only in degree or state from that with which God beatifies the saints in heaven, although it is most certainly produced by the presence of the whole Blessed Trinity-"We will come to Him and make our abode with Him," (John xiv. 23.)-nevertheless is attributed in a peculiar manner to the Holy Ghost."

  • Casti Connubii (1930) - Chaste Wedlock - Pius XI
    • "40. By the very fact, therefore, that the faithful with sincere mind give such consent, they open up for themselves a treasure of sacramental grace from which they draw supernatural power for the fulfilling of their rights and duties faithfully, holily, perseveringly even unto death. Hence this sacrament not only increases sanctifying grace, the permanent principle of the supernatural life, in those who, as the expression is, place no obstacle (obex) in its way, but also adds particular gifts, dispositions, seeds of grace, by elevating and perfecting the natural powers."

  • Divini Redemptoris (1937) - Divine Redeemer - Pius XI
    • "Man has a spiritual and immortal soul. He is a person, marvelously endowed by his Creator with gifts of body and mind. He is a true "microcosm," as the ancients said, a world in miniature, with a value far surpassing that of the vast inanimate cosmos. God alone is his last end, in this life and the next. Bysanctifying grace he is raised to the dignity of a son of God, and incorporated into the Kingdom of God in the Mystical Body of Christ"

  • Mystici Corporis Christi (1943) - The Mystical Body of Christ - Pius XII
    • "But "If the Word emptied himself taking the form of a slave," it was that He might make His brothers according to the flesh partakers of the divine nature, through sanctifying grace in this earthly exile, in heaven through the joys of eternal bliss. For the reason why the only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father willed to be a son of man was that we might be made conformed to the image of the Son of God and be renewed according to the image of Him who created us. Let all those, then, who glory in the name of Christian, look to our Divine Savior as the most exalted and the most perfect exemplar of all virtues; but let them also, by careful avoidance of sin and assiduous practice of virtue, bear witness by their conduct to His teaching and life, so that when the Lord shall appear they may be like unto Him and see Him as He is."
    • "Finally, while by His grace He provides for the continual growth of the Church, He yet refuses to dwell through sanctifying grace in those members that are wholly severed from the Body. This presence and activity of the Spirit of Jesus Christ is tersely and vigorously described by Our predecessor of immortal memory Leo XIII in his Encyclical Letter Divinum Illud in these words: "Let it suffice to say that, as Christ is the Head of the Church, so is the Holy Spirit her soul."

  • Auspicia Quaedam (1948) - Certain Signs - Pius XII
    • "11. For only from Christian virtues may we hope to see the course of history take its proper, orderly direction, and men empowered not only to achieve prosperity in this world with God's help but also to enjoy, with the infusion of sanctifying grace. unending happiness in Heaven."

  • Dominum Et Vivificantem (1986) - The Lord and Giver of Life - John Paul II
    • "9. Thus in the farewell discourse at the Last Supper, we can say that the highest point of the revelation of the Trinity is reached At the same time, we are on the threshold of definitive events and final words which in the end will be translated into the great missionary mandate addressed to the Apostles and through them to the Church: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations," a mandate which contains, in a certain sense, the Trinitarian formula of baptism: "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The formula reflects the intimate mystery of God, of the divine life, which is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the divine unity of the Trinity. The farewell discourse can be read as a special preparation for this Trinitarian formula, in which is expressed the life-giving power of the Sacrament which brings about sharing in the life of the Triune God, for it gives sanctifying grace as a supernatural gift to man. Through grace, man is called and made "capable" of sharing in the inscrutable life of God."
    • "For as St. Paul teaches, 'all who are led by the Spirit of God" are "children of God.' The filiation of divine adoption is born in man on the basis of the mystery of the Incarnation, therefore through Christ the eternal Son. But the birth, or rebirth. happens when God the Father "sends the Spirit of his Son into our hearts." Then "we receive a spirit of adopted sons by which we cry 'Abba, Father!'" Hence the divine filiation planted in the human soul through sanctifying grace is the work of the Holy Spirit. "It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ." Sanctifying grace is the principle and source of man's new life: divine, supernatural life."
    • "And in the superabundance of the uncreated gift there begins in the heart of all human beings that particular created gift whereby they "become partakers of the divine nature." Thus human life becomes permeated, through participation, by the divine life, and itself acquires a divine, supernatural dimension. There is granted the new life, in which as a sharer in the mystery of Incarnation "man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit." Thus there is a close relationship between the Spirit who gives life and sanctifying grace and the manifold supernatural vitality which derives from it in man: between the uncreated Spirit and the created human spirit."

  • Veritatis Splendor (1993) - The Splendor of Truth - John Paul II
    • "With every freely committed mortal sin, he offends God as the giver of the law and as a result becomes guilty with regard to the entire law (cf. Jas 2:8-11); even if he perseveres in faith, he loses "sanctifying grace", "charity" and "eternal happiness". As the Council of Trent teaches, "the grace of justification once received is lost not only by apostasy, by which faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin".

  • Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2003) - The Church of the Eucharist - John Paul II
    • "36. Invisible communion, though by its nature always growing, presupposes the life of grace, by which we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4), and the practice of the virtues of faith, hope and love. Only in this way do we have true communion with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Nor is faith sufficient; we must persevere in sanctifying grace and love, remaining within the Church “bodily” as well as “in our heart”; what is required, in the words of Saint Paul, is “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6)."
Church Magisterium Documents
  • Reconciliatio et Paenitentia (1984) - Reconciliation and Penance - John Paul II
    • And when through sin, the soul commits a disorder that reaches the point of turning away form its ultimate end God to which it is bound by charity, then the sin is mortal; on the other hand, whenever the disorder does not reach the point of a turning away from God, the sin is venial." For this reason venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity and therefore eternal happiness, whereas just such a deprivation is precisely the consequence of mortal sin. Furthermore, when sin is considered from the point of view of the punishment it merits, for St. Thomas and other doctors mortal sin is the sin which, if unforgiven, leads to eternal punishment; whereas venial sin is the sin that merits merely temporal punishment (that is, a partial punishment which can be expiated on earth or in purgatory)."
Fathers and Doctors of the Church Documents
  • Summa Theologica - Most Holy Trinity (1265) - The Highest Study of God - Thomas Aquinas
    • Whether the Invisible Mission of the Divine Person Is Only According to the Gift of Sanctifying Grace?
      • "I answer that, The divine person is fittingly sent in the sense that He exists newly in any one; and He is given as possessed by anyone; and neither of these is otherwise than by sanctifying grace."
      • "For God is in all things by His essence, power and presence, according to His one common mode, as the cause existing in the effects which participate in His goodness. Above and beyond this common mode, however, there is one special mode belonging to the rational nature wherein God is said to be present as the object known is in the knower, and the beloved in the lover. And since the rational creature by its operation of knowledge and love attains to God Himself, according to this special mode God is said not only to exist in the rational creature but also to dwell therein as in His own temple. So no other effect can be put down as the reason why the divine person is in the rational creature in a new mode, except sanctifying grace. Hence, the divine person is sent, and proceeds temporally only according to sanctifying grace."
      • "Again, we are said to possess only what we can freely use or enjoy: and to have the power of enjoying the divine person can only be according tosanctifying grace. And yet the Holy Ghost is possessed by man, and dwells within him, in the very gift itself of sanctifying grace. Hence the Holy Ghost Himself is given and sent."
      • "Reply to Objection 2: Sanctifying grace disposes the soul to possess the divine person; and this is signified when it is said that the Holy Ghost is given according to the gift of grace. Nevertheless the gift itself of grace is from the Holy Ghost; which is meant by the words, "the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost."
      • "Reply to Objection 3: Although the Son can be known by us according to other effects, yet neither does He dwell in us, nor is He possessed by us according to those effects."