Christians believe that all people are called to God’s grace. Grace refers to those gifts that bring about a supernatural friendship with God. Supernatural means an elevation of human nature beyond what it is naturally capable of attaining. Grace is a sharing in the life of God, as his adopted children, making us heirs to the kingdom of heaven. This life of grace far exceeds the mere forgiveness of our sins and our worldly improvement as human beings. In this new and supernatural life we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4), co-heirs of Christ (Rom 8:17) and temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16).
Grace is first bestowed in this present life. It is fulfilled in the sharing of God’s own happiness in the glory of heaven. St John writes in the New Testament, ‘My dear friends, we are already God’s children, but what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed. We are well aware that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is.’ (1 Jn 3:2).
There are two main kinds of grace. Sanctifying grace makes us children of God. Actual grace refers to the particular prompts and assistance that God gives us to help us act in ways leading to holiness. All grace comes to us from God by means of Jesus Christ (c.f. Jn 1:17) and his Church. The sacraments, in particular, plant, nourish or restore the life of grace in us.
Just as natural human life develops towards maturity, so too does the life of grace. As grace matures, building on our human nature, it also brings this nature to its own perfection.
God’s love towards us and his gifts of grace impel all Christians to practice charity and to work for a renewal of the world and society. We are called to pray and work for a Christian society that respects natural law, upholds the dignity of all people, is conducive to evangelisation and encourages everyone to follow their God-given vocations. The Church’s social teaching encourages the common good through the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. A special emphasis is put on charitable work to help the poor and those on the margins of society. We are all commanded by Christ to practice charity in our societies and especially the ‘works of mercy’