... For the love of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us... Romans 5:5
Grace is a habitual orientation of the entire person towards God as personal goal and life. Sanctifying grace is the gift of divine life in us who have been made holy by rebirth in baptism and union with the Holy Spirit. It enables us to participate in God's own life and become the 'image and likeness' of God that God calls us to be.
In St. Augustine's writings “gratia " sets the stage for an effort to define 'grace’". We do not find it as a technical term in the Scriptures. We find words such as "favor"," gift" "thanks”, “gratitude" for what God has done for us. The basic concept of gratitude led the Eastern Fathers to emphasize the transformation of human nature through Christ and the Holy Spirit. All of Christian life is a gift. Many treatises have been written on how all grace comes to the human race through the suffering, death, resurrection of Christ.
The goal of human life is union with God,
To attain progress towards this beatitude is possible only with God’s help.
God gives that help in a way out of proportion to fallen created nature, granting human beings a share in God's own nature, knowledge, and love.
The sumrnons of God's grace calls for an active response. Only in human action is such a response made real. The reality of good human actions proceed as a result of God's gracious will. They are the actual graces or the instances of grace in act. A person is free to respond positively to God's invitation. Grace is a dynamic relationship with God.
CCC #1131 “The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which Divine Life is dispensed to us.” "[The sacraments] are efficacious because in them Christ himself is at work” - CCC #1127
Jesus is the ultimate sign of God’s loving presence among people. Jesus is the ultimate Sacrament.
The Church has defined seven Sacraments in which Catholics may partake. The initiation Sacraments that admit one to the family of God are Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist (or Holy Communion.) The Sacraments of Healing are Reconciliation (also known as Confession or Penance.) The Sacraments of Service to the Church are Marriage and Holy Orders (celebrated for the bishop, priests and deacons.)
In our parish the Sacraments are prepared for as a parish and by the family in their home churches. The sacramental preparation is a separate standing program from faith formation, homeschooling and Catholic school. The youth as well as their parents attend classes for their particular age group so that all can come to a deeper appreciation of the Sacraments.