Grace: Commentary on the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas, Chapter Seven
Rev. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.


With respect to efficacious grace, the following texts must always be kept in mind: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5); “It is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will” (Phil. 2:13); “What hast thou that thou hast not received?” (I Cor. 4:7), and “No one would be better than another if he were not loved and helped more by God” (St. Thomas, Ia, q. 20, a. 3).

State of the question. As we have already said in Part One of this section, referring to the doctrine of the Church on efficacious grace: that grace is called efficacious which makes us act, according to the words of Ezechiel (36:27): “I will cause you to walk in My commandments, and to keep My judgments and do them.” This manner of speaking is used by the Second Council of Orange (can. 9, Denz., no. 182): “Whatever good we do, God acts in us and with us that we may act.”

It is therefore not merely a question of efficacious grace with the efficacy of power in first act, in the sense of conferring real and intrinsic powers of the supernatural order (this is true even of interior sufficient grace); but the term is applied to efficacious grace with the efficacy of operation in second act, since it produces the operation itself effectively with us. And now we must investigate whence its efficacy is derived: whether it is efficacious of itself, intrinsically, or extrinsically, that is, on account of our consent foreseen through mediate knowledge.

First conclusion. The efficacity of grace cannot be derived extrinsically, according to Catholic theologians generally, with the exception of the Molinists and Congruists.

I. Proof from Holy Scripture, whence it is certain that grace is given which causes us to act, which operates in us both to will and to accomplish, in a certain insuperable and inscrutable manner. Cf.  Ezech. 36:26 f.: “And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit in the midst of you: and I will cause you to walk in My commandments, and to keep My judgments and do them.” Again in Ezech.11:19.

In the Book of Esther (13:9-11) Mardochai, praying God to convert the heart of King Assuerus who was hostile to the Jews, expresses himself thus: “O Lord, Lord, almighty king, for all things are in Thy power, and there is none that can resist Thy will, if Thou determine to save Israel. . . . Thou art Lord of all, and there is none that can resist Thy majesty.” And in chapter fourteen, Queen Esther makes her prayer as follows: “Remember, O Lord, and show Thyself to us in the time of our tribulation, and give me boldness, O Lord, king of gods and of all power . . . and turn his [Assuerus’] heart to the hatred of our enemy. . . . O God, who art mighty above all, hear the voice of them that have no other hope, and deliver us from the hand of the wicked, and deliver me from my fear” (vv. 12-19), “And God changed the king’s spirit into mildness” (ibid., 15:11). By these words the efficacy of the divine decree and grace is evidently attributed to divine omnipotence and not to the foreseen consent of Assuerus.  Hence St. Augustine, in I ad Bonit., chap. 20, says in analyzing these words: “By a very hidden and efficacious power, He converted and transformed the King’s heart from wrath to leniency.” Similarly, in the Book of Proverbs (21:1): “As the divisions of waters, so the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord: whitersoever He will He shall turn it,” that is, the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord as the dispersion of water in the hand of the gardener. “The souls of the just are in the hand of God” (Wisd. 3:2); “She [wisdom] gave him [Jacob] a strong conflict, that he might overcome” (ibid., 10:12). Again, man in the hand of God is compared to clay in the hand of the potter: “As the potter’s clay is in his hand, to fashion and order it: . . . so man is in the hand of Him that made him” (Ecclus. 33:13 f.); this entire passage, from verse ten to sixteen, should be attentively studied.  The same figure is used in Isa. 29:16; 45:9; 64:8; Jer. 18:6, and Rom. 9:21. Isaias, in chapter ten, speaks of man in the hand of God as a rod, a staff, or an axe in the hand of man, wielding it as he wills. Therefore almighty God disposes of the wills of men and neither waits upon them nor subjects Himself to their desires. Again, in chapter fourteen, Isaias predicts many events to be accomplished through men, such as that the Israelites will return to their own land, and he adds: “For the Lord of hosts hath decreed, and who can disannul it? And His hand is stretched out: and who shall turn it away?” (14q.) By the hand of God is meant His omnipotence, as in psalm 94: “In His hand are all the ends of the earth” (v. 4).

In the New Testament, too, we find: “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Therefore grace is not rendered efficacious through our consent; rather, on the contrary, without the grace of Christ we do not consent to the good conducive to salvation. “My sheep hear My voice . . . and I give them life everlasting and they shall not perish forever, and no man shall pluck them out of My hand. That which My Father hath given Me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them out of the hand of My Father” (ibid., 10:27-29). That is to say, the souls of the just are in the hand of God, nor can the world with all its temptations nor the demon snatch the elect from the hand of God. Cf. St. Thomas’ commentary on this passage.  It reiterates the words of St. Paul: “Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or famine . . . or the sword?. . . But in all these things we overcome, because of [or through] Him that hath loved us. . . . For I am sure that neither death nor life . . . nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35-39). St. Thomas comments here that either St. Paul is speaking in the person of the predestinate or, if of himself personally, then it was thanks to a special revelation. Elsewhere St. Paul writes: “Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God” (II Cor. 3:5). If we are not sufficient to think anything conducive to salvation of ourselves, with still greater reason is this true of giving our consent, which is primary in the role of salvation. Again, “For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. . . . All things are naked and open to His eyes” (Heb. 4:12 f.). Cf. St. Thomas’ commentary: “The word of God is said to be effectual on account of the very great power and infinite effective force which it possesses. For by it are all things made: ‘By the word of the Lord the heavens were established’ (Ps. 32:6). . . . It effects in the innermost being of things . . . all our works . . . In the order of causes it is to be observed that a prior cause always acts more intimately than a subsequent cause.”

In Rom. 9:14-16 we read: “What shall we say then? Is there injustice in God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy. So then it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (cf. Exod. 33:19)1 To the Philippians, St. Paul writes: “With fear and trembling work out your salvation. For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to His good will” (2:13); hence the soul should fear sin or separation from God, the author of salvation; cf. St. Thomas’ commentary.

Lastly, “Who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And . . . why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (I Cor. 4:7.) Cf. St. Thomas. According to this text, the distinction in the work of salvation between those who are converted and those who are not, between the just who persevere and those who do not, is to be sought from the part of God and not from the part of man. On the contrary, according to the system of mediate knowledge, in the work of salvation one man distinguishes himself from another, while God awaits his consent and does not determine to give grace efficacious in itself so as to produce this consent freely.  In other words, if grace is not efficacious of itself, but is made efficacious by our consent upon which God waits, then man possesses something which he does not receive from God and in which he may glory, as the Pharisee did in his prayer; man has something. whereby he ma distinguish himself from another, equally tempted, who, anticipate by an equal grace, does not consent to it; that is, he possesses the difference between his own consent to good conducive to salvation and the consent to evil, whereas the consent to good could, in fact, exist in the other.

2. The Council of Orange (Denz., no. 189): “Let no one glory in what he seems to have as if he had not received it from God” (can. 16). This is the formula of the principle of predilection, that is, no one would be better than another if he were not better loved by God.  “No one has anything of his own but sin and lying” (can. 22); “Man does nothing good which God does not enable him to do” (can. 20). Cf. also the Council of Trent (Sess. VI, chap. 13, Denz., no. 806): “For unless they [men] neglect His grace, God perfects a good work as He began it, operating both to will and to accomplish” (Phil. 2:13).  Likewise canon 22 (Denz., no. 832): “If anyone should say either that it is possible to persevere, without the special help of God in accepted justice, or that with it, this is impossible, let him be anathema.” Concerning the mind of the Council of Trent, cf. Father del Prado, De gratia et libero arbitrio, II ,83-91.

3. The Fathers, especially St. Augustine. Thomists quote many texts of St. Augustine dealing with mediate knowledge; cf. also Del Prado, op. cit., II, 67-259. It is sufficient to quote here the words of Augustine (De gratia et libero arbitrio, chap. 16, 32): “It is certain that we will when we will, but God causes us to will; it is certain that we act when we act, but God causes us to act, supplying most efficacious forces to the will.” Therefore God confers grace, efficacious of itself, by which the hard heart is overcome and made obedient, yielding consent.

Similarly, in the De correptione et gratia, chap. 14: “It is not to be doubted that human wills cannot hinder the will of God, which did whatever it willed in heaven and on earth, from doing what it wills, when as a matter of fact it does what it wills, when it wills, with these very wills of men. . . . Having, beyond any doubt, the most omnipotent power of inclining human hearts to what it pleases.” But this would be false if grace were rendered efficacious by our consent. Indeed, Augustine declares (ibid.) that “God acts within, takes hold of hearts, moves hearts, and draws men by their wills which He Himself operates within them; if, therefore, when God wills to establish rulers on earth, He has the wills of men in His power more than they have themselves, who else acts that the reproof may be beneficial and may produce amendment in the heart that receives it?”


Moreover, for Augustine, it is an inscrutable judgment of God that one man should will efficaciously and be converted, while another is not. Cf. De dono perseuerantiae, chap. 9. But it is not inscrutable according to Molinism. Furthermore, for Augustine, it is difficult to reconcile liberty and grace; cf. De gratia Christi, chap. 47. But it is an easy matter for Molinism, for who, even if he is very stupid, does not understand that liberty remains with grace which depends on a command from that very liberty?

This doctrine of Augustine remains intact in his disciples, St. Prosper and Fulgentius. In fact St. Prosper, at the end of his letter to Augustine concerning the teaching of the Semi-Pelagians, beseeches St. Augustine to explain the argument against them: “I beg you to deign to reveal how free will is not impeded by this preoperative and operative grace, and whether foreknowledge is supported by a divine intention,” that is, by a decree. However, St. Augustine replies that foreknowledge is dependent upon a decree. Cf. De dono persev., chap. 17; De praedest. sanctorum, chap. 10.

4. St. Thomas. We shall first cite the texts from the Summa in proper sequence so that it may appear how this doctrine of intrinsically efficacious grace is necessarily connected with all the principles of St. Thomas’ doctrine with regard to the relations between God and creatures. 

Ia, q.2, a.3: All movement is derived from the prime mover; all created causality depends on the supreme cause, all contingent being on the first necessary being, all being on participation in essential being; and whatever is ordained toward another is from the first ordainer. These are the five ways of proving the existence of God. It is already evident that God determines and cannot be determined by another, neither in His knowledge nor in any other attribute. Whatever is outside of God, even the determination of our free will, must have a relationship of causality or dependence with respect to God.  Hence our question in its entirety is reducible to this dilemma: “God either determines or is determined by another; no halfway measure is possible.” This is established by the following texts of St. Thomas. 

Ia, q. 6, a. 4: “Everything is said to be good from the divine goodness as from the first exemplary, effective, and final principle of all goodness”; but the choice of salvation is a good; therefore.

Question 14, On the knowledge of God, a.5: “Since the divine power is extended to other things, inasmuch as it is itself the first effective cause of all being, it must be that God knows other things than Himself. He sees other things not in themselves, but in Himself.” But if, of two men equally tempted and equally assisted, one should be converted and not the other, this difference would not be from God. Therefore God could not know it in Himself, in His own power, contrary to the principle of St. Thomas.

Article 8: “The knowledge of God is the cause of things according as His will is joined with it,” behold the decree or proposition of the divine will. Therefore the knowledge of God is the cause of the choice of salvation on our part. (Cf. ad I.)

Article 11: “In the measure that God’s knowledge is extended, His causality is extended”; so that God’s knowledge extends even to individual cases.

Article 13: His knowledge is measured by eternity, which encompasses all time; thus it is applied to future things inasmuch as they are present things in eternity, but this future is not the present in eternity rather than the opposite, unless by a divine decree; otherwise God’s knowledge would not be the cause of all things according as His will is joined to it, nor would God know future things in Himself, but in themselves.

Question 16, on truth, a. 7 ad 3: “That which now is, by that very fact was future before it came to be, since it existed in its cause in order that it might come to be. Hence if the cause were removed, that future thing would not come to be; for only the first cause is eternal. Wherefore it does not follow from this that it would always have been true that those things which now are, were to be future, unless in an eternal cause it was determined in the eternal that they would be future, which eternal cause indeed is God alone.”

Question 19, on the will of God, a. 4: Whether the will of God is the cause of things. “God does not act (outside Himself) through any necessity of nature, but determined effects proceed from His infinite perfection according to the determination of His will and intellect.” Behold the decree of the divine will.

Article 6 ad I: “Whatever God wills absolutely is done, although what He wills antecedently may not be done.”

Article 8: “Since the divine will is most efficacious, not only does it follow that those things are done which God wills should be done, but that they are done in the manner in which God wills them to be done . . . that is, either by necessity or contingency.” ibid., ad I: “If God wills this, it must necessarily be, by conditional necessity.” ibid., ad 2: “From the very fact that nothing resists the will of God, it follows not only that those things which God wills are done, but that they are effected contingently or necessarily, as He so wills.” Ia, q. 20, a. 2: “The love of God infuses and creates goodness in things.” ibid., a. 3: “Since the love of God is the cause of the goodness of things, nothing would be better than something else if God did not will greater good to one than to another.” ibid., a. 4: “The will of God is the cause of goodness in things and so, on this account, some things are better, because God wills greater good to them. Hence it follows that He loves better things more.” But of two men, equally tempted, if one does not resist grace and the other does, the first is better. Therefore he is better because God wills greater good to Him. In other words, the principle of predilection (nobody is better than another unless he is better loved by God) presupposes grace to be efficacious of itself and not from our consent. Likewise, De providentia, Ia, q. 22, a. 2 ad 4; a. 4.

Ia, q. 23 on predestination, a. 4, Election: “In God, love precedes election.” ibid., ad I: “If the divine communication of this or that good is considered, it is not bestowed without election, for God gives certain good things to some which He does not give to others. And thus election is looked to in the conferring of grace and glory.”

Article 5. Predestination is not on account of foreseen merits, since “there is no discrepancy between what pertains to free will and what to predestination, just as there is no discrepancy between what pertains to second cause and what to first cause. Hence whatever is from free will is also by predestination.” “Whatever is in man ordering him toward salvation is all included under the effect of predestination, even his own preparation for grace.” Similarly the well-known reply to the third objection.

Article 6. “Predestination most certainly and infallibly attains its effect, and yet it does not impose any necessity.” But this presupposes that a divine decree is intrinsically efficacious and that grace is likewise efficacious of itself.

Ia, q. 83, a. I ad 3: “In moving voluntary causes, God does not prevent their actions from being voluntary, but rather produces this effect in them.”

Ia IIae, q. 109, a. I: “All movements, both corporal and spiritual, are reducible absolutely to the prime mover that is God, and therefore, however perfect any corporal or spiritual nature is assumed to be, it cannot proceed to its act unless moved by God.”

Ia IIae, q. 112, a. 3: “If it is in the intention of God who moves that the man whose heart He is moving should receive grace, he will receive it infallibly.”

IIa IIae, q. 24, a. 11: “It is impossible that these two statements should be true at the same time: that the Holy Ghost should will to move a person to an act of charity and that that person should lose charity by sinning.”

Moreover, neither St. Augustine nor St. Thomas ever admitted mediate knowledge, which was proposed by the Semi-Pelagians, on account of the conditional future merits of infants. Billuart presents further texts of St. Thomas from his other works to prove that, according to the Angelic Doctor, the use of grace itself belongs to God.

5. Theological proof. This argument brings together all the above-mentioned arguments of St. Thomas and is connected with the principle of predilection: “Since the love of God is the cause of goodness in things, no one would be better than another if he were not more loved by God.” (Cf. Ia, q. 20, a. 3.) The argument is proposed in the following terms.

That which is greatest in the whole created order and in the supernatural in wayfarers cannot escape divine causality, otherwise God would not be the first and universal cause nor the author of salvation. 

But that which is greatest in the whole created order and in the supernatural in wayfarers is the good use of grace by free determination, for this is merit or the right to eternal life. There is nothing higher in wayfaring saints than charity freely fructifying through merits.

Therefore the good use of grace by free consent is an effect of the grace of God, and it is contradictory to assert that grace is rendered efficacious extrinsically, that is, by our consent, which would thus escape divine causality. This argument is valid against the Molinists, although some admit indifferent premotion, such as L. Billot, and against the Congruists who likewise accept scientia media. (Cf. Bossuet, Tr. de libre arbitre, chap. 8, and Del Prado, De gratia, the whole of Book III.)

They reply that nothing escapes divine causality, since God produces an indeliberate supernatural act, but the free act is not a new entity, but a mode of the act, which the created will is capable of imposing upon it.

However, this is a vain subterfuge, for the free use of grace differs vastly from this indeliberate, nonfree act. It is really a new act, this choice itself, an act strictly meritorious, establishing the most profound separation between the bad and the good; indeed, it is the ultimate actuality of our liberty while on earth. But it is inconceivable that the very element by reason of which the saints are differentiated from the wicked should not be a real entity. In fact, for the Molinists themselves, it is something so precious that not even God can touch it; but in that case the thing which is most precious in the role of salvation is withdrawn from the causality of God. It should be evident that, just as all being depends on first being, all good on the first good, so all free determination toward good depends upon the supreme, free determination of God.

Confirmation. In the matter of salvation, two principles must be firmly maintained: all good comes from God; every defect arises from human liberty. “Destruction is thy own, O Israel: thy help is only in Me” (Osee 13:9). But these are correctly explained by the doctrine of intrinsically efficacious grace; on the contrary, the first principle is not adequately safeguarded by the opposite theory. Therefore grace is intrinsically efficacious.

Explanation. These two principles are proof for the argument, since a will which is not its own act, cannot proceed to the act by itself alone, but needs to be moved by the grace of God, and grace, by its intrinsic force, causes the good use of grace or consent. Thus the good in its entirety is from God. So the help of God is sought in the words of the Psalms: “Blessed is the man whose help is from Thee. . . . I have lifted up my eyes to the hills, to the hills whence cometh my help. . . . My help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth . . . May He send thee help from His holy place. . . . Lord, withdraw not Thy help from me . . . Give us help in tribulation . . . Give glory to the Lord for He is good.” Consult a Bible Concordance under “help” and “grace.”

But on the other hand, the will is capable by itself alone of defection, obviously on account of its condition of creature produced out of nothingness. Therefore it fails by itself alone, but it does not perform any good by itself unaided. Hence whatever merit there may be is attributable to God as first cause, and to the will as under the premotion of God. They are two total causes, not coordinated as two men rowing a boat, but subordinated, not only in being but in causality.

Hence Molinism is a kind of dream in which the creature forgets that he is a creature. But, to be deeply aware of our creaturehood, and therefore not to consider ourselves as having being and acting except by God’s help, is the fundamental basis of the virtue of humility, which is founded upon the dogmas of creation and of the necessity of grace, either habitual or actual and efficacious. It is the easiest thing in the world, however, for an intellectual creature to forget that he is a creature.

Spiritual corollaries. Many corollaries may be deduced from this principle applicable to spirituality. The more important are briefly indicated here, that this doctrine may appear alive, founded as it is in Sacred Scripture and not only in scholastic theory.

1. This doctrine leads to profound humility. For by it the following texts take on a deep significance: “Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God” (II Cor. 3:5); “No one has anything of his own but sin and lying” (Council of Orange, can. 22); “And lead us not into temptation”; “We are unprofitable servants” (Luke 17:10); “Not to us, O Lord, not to us; but to Thy name give glory” (Ps. 113:1); “As the potter’s clay is in his hand, . . . so man is in the hand of Him that made him” (Ecclus. 33:13f.); “The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed” (Lam. 3:22); “Thy hands have made me and formed me” (Ps. 118:73); “Thou . . . hast redeemed us to God, in Thy blood” (Apoc. 5:9); “The mercy of the Lord is above all His works.” “Into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Ps. 30:6); “What hast thou that thou hast not received?” “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” (Cf. Del Prado, op. cit., III, 151.) This is the basis of true mysticism, and especially of true humility. According to St. Augustine, as Del Prado notes (Ad .), there is no sin which another man commits, which I could not also commit, through the weakness of free will and my own frailty, and if I do not do so, not to us, Lord, not to us, but to Thy name be the glory! This ought to destroy the entire root of pharisaism in us; and hence in replying to the Pharisees, Christ often proclaimed the necessity of grace: “No man cometh to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him . . . My sheep hear My voice.”

2. This doctrine instils a profound sense of the necessity of prayer, of continual, interior prayer, full of confidence. For hidden, interior, most e6cacious grace, which leads up to consent, to the overcoming of temptation and drawing near to God must be sought. Thus the Sacred Scripture teaches us to pray: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to Thy great mercy. . . .God, be merciful to me, a sinner. . . . I am not worthy to be called Thy son . . . Father, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee. . . . Help Thou my unbelief. Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels . . . Convert me, Lord, to Thee, and I shall be converted.” Again, it is written: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” that is, give me Thy grace to perform in my actions what Thou commandest, and this perseveringly until death. Hence St. Augustine used to say: “Lord, give what You command, and command what You will.”

The Church prays in the same way in her Missal, as St. Augustine shows (Epist. ad Vital., 217) and Bossuet in his Défense de la tradition, Bk. X, chap. 10: “That God may compel our rebellious wills; that of infidels refusing to believe He may make believers.2 That He may apply our hearts to good works. That He may give us a good will. That He may convert and draw us to Himself. That He may remove our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh, or docile hearts. That He may transform our wills and incline them toward good. That He may not permit us to be separated from Him.” Cf. the prayers of the Mass before the priest’s Communion.

Prayer must be continual, at least in the sense of a perpetual desire for necessary grace, according to the admonition of Christ “that we ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1); so that prayer, the Fathers declare, should be as the breath of the soul which ceases not any more than the respiration of the body, inhaling grace by holy desire and exhaling the love of God, meritorious for eternal life. 

Moreover this prayer should be made with complete trust like the prayer of Queen Esther (Esther, 14), that is, with confidence that almighty God can convert even the hardened sinner; thus holy priests have prayed, for example, in the case of criminals being led to execution, refusing to confess and blaspheming. Such great trust in prayer has obtained wonderful conversions.

3. This doctrine likewise recommends the necessity of giving thanks for every good action performed by the help of God. Therefore does St. Paul say to the Thessalonians (5:17 f.): “Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks”; and to the Ephesians (5:20): “Giving thanks always for all things.” In fact, this teaching leads almost normally to the prayer of contemplation wherein is considered the very profound action of God within us, mortifying and vivifying, that the soul may arrive at the perfect love of God, responding by its fiat to the entire will of God. In such contemplation, whether painful and obscure or joyful and luminous, the truth of those words of Tobias (13:1 f.) becomes apparent: “Thou art great, O Lord, forever, and Thy kingdom is unto all ages. For Thou scourgest, and Thou savest: Thou leadest down to hell, and bringest up again: and there is none that can escape Thy hand.” Likewise I Kings 2:6: “The Lord killeth and maketh alive, He bringeth down to hell and bringeth back again.”

The prayer of Christ in Gethsemane and the prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Calvary were this very deep contemplation of the two principles enunciated by the prophet Osee (139): “Destruction is thy own, O Israel; thy help is only in Me.” Such profound prayer is drawl1 from efficacious grace, according to the text of St. Paul (Rom. 8:26-28): “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. And He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what the Spirit desireth; because He asketh for the saints according to God.” Whereupon he adds: “And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to His purpose, are called to be saints.” Souls that pray thus under the special inspiration of the Holy Ghost obtain whatever they ask, according to St. John of the Cross (Dark Night, Bk. II, chap. 20), since they ask only what the Holy Ghost inspires them to ask.

Particularly in contemplative prayer which accompanies the passive purification of the spirit does the soul derive almost an experiential knowledge of what the efficacious grace of God means. And to this grace applies what St. Paul says of the word of God (Heb. 4:12f.): “The word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword; and reaching unto th division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. . . . All things are naked and open to His eyes.” But the knowledge of God founded in His causality (for the knowledge of God is the cause of things) extends even to our interior consent, since His hidden causality, at once gentle and strong, extends to this very consent. These two modalities of the divine action (sweetness and strength) are so closely connected that to minimize one of them, strength, for instance, is by that very fact to minimize the other, that is, sweetness. The grace of God is not gentle, penetrating into the very interior of free will, unless on account of its great effcacy, according to that principle of St. Thomas (Ia, q. 19, a. 8): “Since the will of God is most efficacious, not only does it follow that those things are done which God wills should be done, but also that they are done in the manner in which He wills them to be done.”

4. The doctrine of intrinsically efficacious grace also leads to a high degree of the practice of the theological virtues, for it is closely identified with the sublime mystery of predestination maintained in all its loftiness, in accordance with the teaching of St. Paul (Rom. 8:28; Eph. 1:5); St. Augustine (De praedestinatione sanctorum, De dono perseverantiae), and St. Thomas (Ia, q. 23, a. 5). This doctrine is founded upon the word of God according to St. John (6:39): “Now this is the will of the Father who sent Me: that of all that He hath given Me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day.”

Hence, by the foregoing principle faith in the wisdom of God is preserved in all its sublimity. “O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and recompense shall be made him? For of Him and by Him and in Him are all things: to Him be glory forever” (Rom. 11:33-36). Likewise, faith in the holiness of the divine good pleasure is maintained, according to the words of St.  Matthew (11:25): “I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight.” And again in St. John’s Gospel (6:44), Christ I says to the Pharisees.: “No man can come to Me, except the Father, who hath sent Me, draw Him.”

Similarly faith in divine omnipotence is observed in a high degree, He works in us both to will and to accomplish; and faith in God’s supreme dominion over our wills, which are in the hand of God as clay in the hand of the potter. Again, faith is maintained in the infinite value of the prayer and merits of Christ, who merited for His elect graces which are efficacious of themselves. “The Father loveth the Son: and He hath given all things into His hands” (John 3:35); “He that believeth in Me hath everlasting life” (ibid., 6:47); “I have manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou hast given me out of the world. Thine they were, and to Me Thou gavest them; and they have kept Thy word. . . . Holy Father, keep them in Thy name whom Thou hast given Me; that they may be one, as We also are. . . . Sanctify them in truth. . . . And for them do I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth” (ibid., 17:6 ff.). 

This doctrine also strengthens hope, for the formal motive of hope is not our effort, but the help of God, as is often expressed in the psalms: “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me not be confounded forever”; “But the salvation of the just is from the Lord”; “Give praise to the Lord, for He is good”; and in Proverbs (28:26): “He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool.”

Finally, charity toward God is greatly stimulated by this teaching for it is based upon the text from St. John’s First Epistle (4:10): “He hath first loved us”; and He hath loved not only by conferring sufficient grace, but efficacious grace as well, reaching into our innermost being. Therefore does St. Paul write: “Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:35.) And Christ Himself had said: “I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”

Thus the doctrine of grace efficacious in itself is not merely a scholastic theory, but a living principle, founded upon Sacred Scripture. It was on this account that Benedict XIII, in his letter of November 6, 1724, to the Master General of the Order of Preachers, lauded and approved the opinions “on grace efficacious of itself and intrinsically, and on gratuitous predestination to glory, without any foreseeing of merits, which,” he says, “you have taught so laudably until now, and of which your school with commendable zeal glories that they have been drawn from the holy doctors Augustine Thomas themselves and are in harmony with the word of God, the decrees of the Supreme Pontiffs and of the Councils and the writings of the Fathers.” The Imitation of Christ, Bk. III, chap. 4, no. 3; chap, 55, no. 5; and chap. 58, no. 4, expresses the same opinion. And even among the theologians of the Society of Jesus, the same doctrine is accepted by Father Grou, Spiritual Maxims (second maxim, on grace and freedom), and by Father Billot, De consensu B.V.M. Mysterio Incarnationis and De inspiratione praedeterminante secundum dona S. Sancti; cf. also his De virtutibus infusis, 1905, p. 181, and De Verbo incarnat., 5th ed., Th. XLI, p. 399.

Finally, the foregoing opinion is confirmed by the incongruity of scientia media according to which God would know our future merits before His determining decree.

Therefore our first conclusion remains firm, that grace is intrinsically efficacious. This truth is closely related to the principle of predilection, namely: “Since the love of God is the cause of the goodness of things, nothing would be better than another if God did not will greater good to one than to the other” (St. Thomas, Ia, q. 20, a. 3).  No one would be better than another if he were not loved and assisted to a greater extent by God. The whole problem can be reduced to the unsolvable dilemma: “God either determines or is determined by another; no mean is possible.” If God does not determine, then He is determined by our consent through foreseen scientia media; He is not entirely independent, but depends in some respect upon His creature.

Second conclusion. The intrinsic efficacious grace is not adequately explained by moral or objective or attracting motion, however it may be termed, that is, by a delight which takes the ascendancy or by an accumulation of moral helps.With respect to the ascendant delight, which, saving free will, the Augustinians, such as Berti and Bellelli admitted (thereby dissenting from the Jansenists), it should be said that it is not necessary, frequently is not present, and does not move infallibly toward free choice. For truly it is often lacking; many men are converted not by the attraction of heavenly joys which surpass those of the flesh, but rather from the fear of hell. (Cf. Council of Trent, Sess. VI, chap. 6.) Besides, the saints performed many good works without any pleasure, indeed with great aridity and suffering attached to them. Hence man does not always pursue the greatest indeliberate pleasure; he chooses what seems to him better here and now, even if it is better only from the motive of obligation, without any antecedent delight.  However, a superior delight follows, namely, that of having accomplished his duty, of conformity to the divine will.

Moreover, by intrinsically efficacious grace God moves us to choice, directly and infallibly. But by merely moral motion God cannot move us directly and infallibly to choice. Therefore intrinsically efficacious grace cannot be placed in moral motion alone. The minor is proved by the argument that moral motion does not affect the will internally, but only from without, by means of the intellect, attracting it, nor is its attraction infallible. It is true that God, clearly seen everywhere as good, infallibly draws our will, according as He is perfectly adequate to its capacity, which He conquers (Ia IIae, q. 10, a. 2), but this is not true regarding moral motion which is not adequate to the capacity of our will.

The same reason holds for other conceptions of moral motion: by itself it does not satisfy or explain that the will should be moved infallibly; even should there be an accumulation of moral movements, free will would not be attracted infallibly.3 Thus every good in this world was held out to the martyrs, and at the same time every alternative torment; their liberty remained inflexible, but it so remained in God not clearly seen, fixed on account of the physical motion of God.

Third conclusion. Intrinsic efficacious grace dispositively can be claimed, in moral motion, but strictly and formally in predetermining physical premotion. Dispositively, moral motion is required to present the good, pleasing object, but efficacious grace infallibly moving toward a choice must be the actual application of the will as to the exercise of the act which it produces in the physical order, in its own very reality. Moreover, this physical motion is previous with a priority, not of time, but of causality, since the causality of God who moves thus precedes the causality of the will which is moved. (Cf. Contra Gentes, Bk. III, chap. 140.)

Nor does indifferent physical premotion suffice, or toward good in general, as C. Pecci, Satolli, and Paquet maintain. There must be physical premotion in the pursuit of the divine decree. But an intrinsically efficacious divine decree extends even to the free choice of the good, for example, even to the consent of St. Paul at the moment of his conversion. Therefore divine premotion accompanying this decree is called “predetermining.” (Cf. Bossuet, Traité du libre arbitre, chap. 8.)4 Furthermore, indifferent premotion does not preserve the universality of divine causality, for that which is greatest in the matter of salvation, namely, the particular meritorious choice here and now, would escape divine causality.

Pure act, the supreme determination, must be the cause of any determination. Therefore, if physical predetermination with regard to individual acts is not admitted, that which is paramount in the role of salvation and in the whole created and supernatural order, is withdrawn from God. Indeed, if God does not determine, then He is determined by another in His knowledge; this is the highest incongruity in the theory of scientia media. The dilemma is insoluble.

Such premotion is called “predetermining” because, just as God’s motion precedes our action in intention and causality, so does the determination of first cause, by a priority of nature, precede the determination of second cause. If the transition from potency to the final actuality of free will is not from God, who predetermines, then what is greatest in the whole supernatural order is withdrawn from God.

Hence the doctrine of grace efficacious in itself, of premotion which is not indifferent, like the doctrine of the intrinsic efficacy of divine decrees with regard to our salutary acts, is intimately connected with the principle of predilection formdated by St. Thomas, Ia, q. 20, a. 3: “Since the love of God is the cause of the goodness of things, no one would be better than another if God did not will greater good to one than to the other.” In short, no one would be better than another (either by a natural or by a supernatural act, whether easy or difficult, initial or final) unless he were better loved by God. This principle allows of no exception.

In opposition to Satolli and Paquet, whose theory is unwarrantably styled “Cajetan-Thomistic,” cf. Del Prado, De gratia, III, 496 ff. On page 501 he says: “They go astray at the very door (at the moment of arriving at the end of the journey) and part from Cajetan right at the corner of the street, that is, on cooperative motion itself.” For Cajetan rejects motion which precedes by a priority of time (whereby, for instance, my will moves my arm and then the stick to send a stone flying), but he does not exclude physical premotion which precedes by a priority of nature only. Thus, with regard to time, before our free determination, nothing moves determinately and infallibly toward it; the predetermination is of a higher order, the order of eternity, in an eternal decree whose very premotion is its execution.(Cf. Cajetan on Ia, q. 14, a. 13, no. 17; q. 19, a. 8, no. 10; q. 20, a. 3, etc.; q. 23, a. 4; q. 105, a. 4 and 5.)

Divine motion is not a mechanical action, like the action of a man rowing a boat; it is of a higher order, to be compared rather to the influx of life-giving sap by which a plant nourishes and renders itself fruitful5. In fact, this infusion is proper to the eternal cause, existing beyond time, which is much closer to our will than our will is to itself; and the divine cause, moving our will from within, inclines it to self determination through deliberation toward this particular salutary, meritorious act rather than to its contrary. Thus God actualizes our liberty, causing together with us the free mode of our choice.

As in the natural order divine motion arouses in plants the vital processes by which they spontaneously flower and fructify, so in the supernatural order efficacious grace arouses in us, not only a spontaneous love of happiness, but the love of God; and this love is free, since God is not yet clearly seen and does not yet attract us invincibly. Efficacious grace thus properly moves toward this act specified by a good which does not attract irresistibly, and in so moving toward this act it does not change its nature, which depends on its own objective specification. Thus it does not destroy, but actualizes our liberty and free mode, a mode which is real beyond question, which can be produced in us and with us by the supreme creative cause, which from on high “pours forth all being and every modality of being,” excepting only evil-doing.6 If, on the other hand, God did not predetermine, He would be determined in His knowledge by our consent through foreseen mediate knowledge.

Thus it is through efficacious grace that the prayers of the saints are heard: “Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels” (Ps. 50:12). This is best understood by the mystics, and all the more in proportion to the intimacy of their union with God7. Molina admits that such is the doctrine of St. Thomas; cf. Concordia, q. 14, a. 13, dis. 26; likewise Suarez and the Coimbran School quoted by Billuart, De gratia, diss. 5, a. 7, § III.



The objections to the Thomistic teaching have been examined at length by Thomists in reference to the treatise on God, where the divine decrees are examined. They are objections either from Scripture, or from the freedom of the will, from the insufficiency of grace or from affinity with Calvinism. We have examined them in our treatise on the one God (De Deo uno, 1938, pp. 446-57). Attention should be drawn to the three principal objections.

From the authority of Scripture, the following texts are brought forward: “What is there that I ought to do more to My vineyard, that I have not done to it?” (Isa. 5:4); “I called, and you refused: I stretched out My hand, and there was none that regarded” (Prov. 1:24); “You always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51). Therefore the grace of God is not efficacious intrinsically but by reason of our consent.

Reply. These texts must be reconciled with others we have cited: “As the divisions of waters, so the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord” (Prov. 21:1); “As clay is in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand” (Jer. 18 :6); “It is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish” (Phil. 2:13); “Who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received?” (I Cor. 4:7.)

But these texts can be reconciled only by the distinction between sufficient grace which is resisted (contrary to the Jansenists, however, the existence of merely sufficient grace is defined) and efficacious grace which in fact is not resisted. Hence the foregoing texts alleged in objection refer to sufficient grace. Thus, in Isa. 5:4 it is written: “What is there that I ought to do more to My vineyard, that I have not done to it?” It does not say: “What is there that I could do more?” Hence the meaning is that God most assuredly gave the Jews sufficient graces by which they might be saved and, had they not resisted, they should have received efficacious graces.

Similarly, when we read in Matt.11:21: “Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida: for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done penance in sackcloth and ashes.” This objection is refuted in the same way by the Congruists. But the meaning of this text is that the Jews of Corozain and Bethsaida hindered the course of sufficient grace by greater obduracy and malice and set up a greater obstacle to the efficacious grace offered in sufficient grace. For a miracle or sign is an external sufficient grace, not efficacious as ordained toward conversion.

In fact, the will lacks efficacious grace because it resists sufficient grace; but if its resists sufficient grace, this is not because it lacks efficacious grace; its own deficiency suffices as a cause of such resistance. Cf. Ia IIae, q. 112, a. 3 ad 2: “The first cause of this deficiency of grace is on our part, but the first cause of the conferring of grace is on the part of God, according to the words: ‘Destruction is thy own, O Israel: thy help is only in Me.”’ There would indeed be a vicious circle in Thomism if of the two following propositions the second were true: Man is deprived of efficacious grace because he resists sufficient grace, and man resists sufficient grace because he lacks efficacious grace. Of course, the second statement is false; if it were true, man would sin from the insufficiency of divine help, sin would then be inevitable and would therefore no longer be sin. In truth, man does not sin on account of insufficient help or of any divine neglect, but because of his own deficiency.

Similarly, as Protestants hold, there would be a vicious circle in our faith if these two propositions were true with the same acceptation of the conjunction “because”: I believe the Church to be infallible because God has revealed this; and, I believe that God has revealed this because it is infallibly proposed to me by the Church. The fact is that in these two statements the word “because” is not used in the same sense: in the first it signifies the formal motive of faith; in the second it expresses only the indispensable condition.

Likewise in our present problem, the first proposition contains the formal motive why man is deprived of efficacious grace, namely, because he resists sufficient grace. The second does not; that is, it would be erroneous to say that the motive of his resistance is because he lacks efficacious grace; he would thus be sinning on account of an insufficiency of divine help, so that God would be a defective and deficient cause. The first cause of the defect is our will so far as it is defective and deficient. God, however, is the unfailing cause, not bound to prevent the defect of sin, whereas He can, for higher reasons, permit it on account of a greater good.

Second objection. This draws from the Council of Trent (Sess.VI, can. 4, Denz., no. 814), which declares. “If anyone should say that free will, moved and stimulated by God, does nothing to cooperate by assenting to God’s encouragement and invitation…or that it cannot dissent if it so wills but, like something inanimate, does not act at all and merely keeps itself passive, let him be anathema.

Reply. In this decree the doctrine of intrinsically efficacious grace is not condemned.

1. This is apparent from the subsequent declarations of Benedict XIV and Clement XII (Denz., no. 1090).

2. Among the fathers of the Council many were Thomists; in fact, Dominic Soto collaborated in the formulation of these decrees.

3. Indeed, more probably than not, the fathers of the Council referred in this canon not only to efficacious grace, but to intrinsically efficacious grace and motion, for Luther had spoken of it, declaring that: “Intrinsically efficacious grace takes away liberty.” The Council anathematizes those who speak thus, so that the Council must be defining the contradictory proposition. Its intention is to declare that even intrinsically effcacious grace does not deprive man of liberty, for he can resist if he so wills. The Council does not maintain that man does, in fact, sometimes dissent, but that “he can dissent if he so wills.” In other words, the contrary power remains, but under efficacious grace man never wills to resist, nor does he; otherwise the grace would not be efficacious or there would be a contradiction in terms; that is, otherwise grace would not cause us to act.

4. Had the fathers of the Council wished to condemn intrinsically efficacious grace, they ought to have said so, but they did not. Therefore it is more probable that they condemned only this conclusion of Luther’s: if grace is intrinsically efficacious, it takes away free will. And in this respect the Molinists agree with him. Hence from this canon the condemnation of Molinism would follow with much more likelihood than that of Thomism. Luther held that intrinsically efficacious grace takes away free will. But grace is intrinsically efficacious.

Therefore free will is taken away. Molina maintained that intrinsically efficacious grace takes away free will. But free will remains. Therefore grace is not intrinsically efficacious. 

Moreover, the Council of Trent (Sess. VI, chap. 13, Denz., no.  806) states: “Unless men themselves neglect His grace, God will complete the good work as He began it, effecting in us both to will and to accomplish.” How can this declaration be reconciled with the following one of Molina: “With equal, and even less assistance, it may yet happen that one of those who are called is converted and another is not”? (Concordia, index under “Auxilium,” pp. 51-56.) God would thus begin a good work equally in these two men, and one man, distinguishing himself, would perfect the work begun. This would be contrary to the principle of predilection: “For who distinguisheth thee?” And the Council of Orange, c. 22, corroborates: “No man has anything of his own but sin and lying.” The remaining objections may be reduced to the following: If grace is intrinsically efficacious, liberty is destroyed, since consent follows infallibly and man cannot resist. This objection is found in St.  Thomas, Ia, q. 19, a. 8, objection 2. His own answer is: “From the very fact that nothing resists the divine will, it follows not only that those things which God wills to be done are done but that they are done contingently or necessarily according to how He wills them to be done.”

Hence precisely because grace is most efficacious it is at the same time most gentle and respects liberty by virtue of the principle enunciated by St. Thomas, Ia, q. 19, a. 8: “For when any cause is efficacious in producing its effect, it proceeds from its cause, not only according to what it does, but also according to its manner of doing it or of being. Thus on account of a weakness in the active power of the seed it happens that a son is born unlike his father in accidental qualities which pertain to the mode of being. Since, therefore, the divine will is most efficacious, it not only follows that those things are done which God wills should be done, but also that they are done in the manner in which He wills them to be done. Now God wills that certain things be done necessarily and certain others contingently” (and freely) according as they proceed from proximate causes not determined to one end, and He moves them infallibly according to what befits their nature.

This is the basis of the Thomistic distinctions, for example, between consequential necessity and logical necessity, or between the divided sense and the composite sense. According to Aristotle, there is consequential, but not consequent, necessity in a strict syllogism of which the major is necessary and the minor contingent. For instance, there is the example from Boetius: It is necessary that what I see should really exist. But I see Peter walking. Therefore it is necessary that Peter should be walking, although contingently and freely. Likewise it is necessary that whatever God wills absolutely should be done. But God wills absolutely that the conversion of Paul should take consequent necessity, Paul will be converted at that moment and his conversion will be free.

In the same way, a man who is seated may stand up, in the divided sense, but not in the composite sense; that is, while seated he has a real power of standing, but he cannot sit and stand simultaneously. These two alternatives are both possible but not concurrently; cf. Ia IIae, q. 10, a. 4 ad 3. Calvin refers to the divided sense with another meaning; according to him, under the efficacious motion of God, the real power of doing the opposite does not remain, but once this motion has been removed, the power of the opposite appears again. The Jansenists hold the same opinion. It is the like error with respect to real power as that of the Megarians who declare that a teacher does not have the power to teach except when he is actually teaching; in which case, should he be sleeping and therefore not actually seeing, he would be blind.

Objection is also contained in the condemned propositions of Quesnel: “The grace of Christ is a supreme grace without which we can in no wise confess Christ, and with which we can never deny Him” (Denz., no. 1359); “Grace is the operation of the hand of the omnipotent God, which nothing can impede or delay” (Denz., no. 1360); “When God wills to save a soul, whatever the time and place, the immutable effect will follow upon the will of God” (Denz., no. 1362.)

Reply. These propositions are condemned, as all historians grant, in the Jansenist sense as explained by the preceding propositions, that is, inasmuch as they deny the antecedent will for salvation, really yet merely sufficient grace, and freedom from necessity. 

But some would retort that the Thomist doctrine of grace leads to quietism, for it would wait upon efficacious grace.

Reply. In opposition to the quietists, the Thomists firmly hold that in practice we should strive to act, when it is a question of a precept which actually obliges, and assuredly at that moment efficacious grace is offered to us at least in su6cient grace; but if by our own deficiency we resist this sufficient grace, we deserve to be deprived of efficacious grace.

Hence this doctrine does not lead to quietism, but on the contrary shows the necessity of the prayer of petition, which the quietists neglected, and recalls to mind the word of our Lord: You must pray always. Prayer is, as it were, the “breath of the soul,” for at the very moment of prayer the actual grace to pray is undoubtedly received, and through prayer the soul is opened to accept new actual grace, and so on, as the lungs must ever inhale and exhale. It is evident that this Thomistic doctrine of non-necessitating predetermination is not conducive to quietism, since Bossuet, the principal adversary of Quietism, always defended it valiantly, as witnessed by his Traité du libre arbitre, chap. 8. Augustine had already refuted this objection with the formula: “God moves the will that it may do, not that it may do nothing,” and it should act when given a precept which obliges here and now. Moreover, we should not expect a sign of the conferring of efficacious grace; we receive it without such a sign. Nor does it always remove the difficulty; in fact, the difficulty is very great in the passive state of the night of the soul. Then the soul does not operate by its own diligence alone, but under the special inspiration of God, it believes, hopes, and loves to a heroic degree.

This doctrine of grace efficacious in itself is connected with the principle of predilection: no one would be better than another were he not loved more by God. “What hast thou that thou hast not received?” We must always thank God for every good: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us; but to Thy name give glory.”8

1 It should be noted that a divine decree is referred to in the Epistle of St. Paul as a “purpose”: “. . . that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand.  Not of works, but of Him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written: Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have hated” (Rom. 9:11-13 ).  “That He might show the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He hath prepared unto glory” (ibid., 9:23). “To them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to His purpose, are called to be saints” (ibid., 828); cf. II Tim. 1:9. “Who hath predestinated . . . according to the purpose of His will: unto the praise of the glory of His grace” (Eph. 1:5f.). “In whom [Christ] we also are called by lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things according to the council of His will. That we may be unto the praise of His glory” (ibid., 1:11 f .).

2 Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Secret of the Mass: “Accept, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the offerings we lay before Thee: and, appeased thereby, constrain our rebellious wills to Thy service. Through our Lord.”

3  A multiplicity of moral motions does not change their species; it merely produces an accidental difference of degree within the same kind of motion; this does not explain that the thousandth moral motion should infallibly draw our liberty. In the same way, although the sides of a polygon inscribed in a circle may be multiplied indefinitely, it will never equal the circumference itself.

4 We have explained this elsewhere at length: Dict. de théol. cath., “Prémotion physique,” what it is not, what it is, col. 31-77; and La prédestination des saints et la grâce, 1936, “La grâce et son eficacité,” pp. 257-381; refutation of objections, pp. 402-13

5 Likewise M. J. Scheeben, Handbuch der Katholischen Dogmatik, Herder, 1933, Vol. II, p. 25, no. 61.

6 Malice is outside of the adequate object of divine omnipotence, and God cannot produce it if He will; on the contrary, the free mode of our choice is a mode of being and not outside the adequate object of God’s power, which is the cause of being inasmuch as it is being and also of its modality.

7 St. Nicholas de Flue, known in Switzerland as the “Father of his country,” prayed thus: “My Lord and my God, take away from me whatever withdraws me from Thee; give me whatever leads me to Thee; take me away from myself and give me wholly unto Thee, that I may be wholly Thine.” This is a very beautiful expression of the efficacy of grace in the purgative, illuminative, and unitive ways.

8 For the solution of the objection made in logical form on the score of injuring liberty, cf. our La prédestination des saints et la grâce, pp. 402-13: “Brevis exposition doctrinae sancti Thomae de motione divina. Catechismus motionis.” It is the work of an excellent Thomist which I appended to the aforementioned volume; it would be difficult to treat the subject with any greater accuracy or precision.


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