‘Pentecost’ Jean Restout (1692-1768)

Course Description

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read that the first parents of the human race were initially created by God in a state of original holiness and justice, and that this grace of original holiness was “to share in…divine life” (n.375). Elsewhere we also read that “God…wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son” (n.52). The divine life, therefore, was given to the human race at the dawn of creation for our elevation to the level of being God’s adopted children. St. Augustine understood that since Adam and Eve were created in God’s likeness, they had been elevated to be God’s children. Tragically, once sin entered the world, our first parents forfeited their divine likeness and humanity has been tainted with a certain alienation from God ever since. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through his Incarnation and Redemptive work reconciled humanity with God and restored the divine likeness in us.

In this course we will investigate the theology of grace. We will look carefully at the state of original holiness in which our first parents were created and see how this was intended to be passed onto their progeny. We will also study the effects of their fall into sin and its consequences for the human race. This will lead us into looking at Christ’s act of Redemption. Students will study the great dignity Christians have by being made children of God, co-heirs with Christ, through their Baptisms. They will also come to understand how Christ’s promised gift of the Holy Spirit, given at Pentecost, is the gift of the New Law dwelling in the hearts of believers, enabling them to be and to live as sons and daughters of God.

After exploring Scriptural foundations of the theology of grace we will explore the properties of grace, namely the supernatural virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Here students will study how the gifts complement and strengthen the supernatural virtues. These virtues and gifts are given with grace at Baptism and the other sacraments so as to configure one to the moral physiognomy of Christ. Investigating these virtues and gifts will bring us to look at the Beatitudes, the perfect works of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In their perfection the Beatitudes are the image of Christ’s own interior life.

This is indeed a most beautiful course in the theology of Christian grace—a must for all wishing to progress in holiness!

Course Objectives

  1. To obtain a firm understanding of the nature of Christian grace.
  2. To see grace as the gift that makes us children of God.
  3. To understanding the nature of the supernatural virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit as properties of grace.
  4. To gain a greater appreciation of the gift of grace given at Baptism, and thus to grow in holiness and to seek the perfection that God wills for each of us.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Course Text

Austin Maloney Woodbury, Sanctifying Grace, The Gifts of the Holy Ghost and The Indwelling of the Holy Trinity. Sydney: St John Centre Press, 2015.

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchas by Course Participants:

Aquinas, Thomas. Catechetical Instructions of St. Thomas Aquinas. Edited by Paul A Böer Sr. Translated by Rev. Joseph B. Collins. Veritatis Splendor Publications, 2012.

Parrot, Les. What is Sanctifying Grace? Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2003.

Popular Level Reading:

Cantalamessa, Raniero. Beatitudes: Eight Steps to Happiness. Cincinnati, OH: Servant Books, 2009.

_________. Come, Holy Spirit: Meditations on the Veni Creator. Translated by Denis and Marlene Barrett. Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 2003.

Journet, Charles. The Meaning of Grace. Translated by A.V. Littledale. Princeton, NJ: Scepter Publishers, 1997.

Marín, Antonio Royo. The Great Unknown: The Holy Ghost and His Gifts. New York: Western Hemisphere Cultural Society, 1991.

Martinez, Luis M.. The Sanctifier: The Classic Work on the Holy Spirit. Translated by M. Aquinas. Boston MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2003.

Ratzinger, Joseph. New Outpourings of the Spirit. Translated by Michael J. Miller and Henry Taylor. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007.

_________. Seek that Which is Above. Translated by Graham Harrison. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007.

Scheeben, Matthias Joseph. The Glories of Divine Grace: A Fervent Exhortation to All to Preserve and to Grow in Sanctifying Grace. Translated by Patrick Shughnessy. Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, 2000.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

_________. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Aquinas, Thomas. ‘Light of Faith’: The Compendium of Theology. Sophia Institute, 1993. (Reprint of Herder edition 1958).

_________. Summa theologiæ, vol.2. Westminster, Merryland: Christian Classics, 1981.

Coffey, David. Grace: The Gift of the Holy Spirit. Sydney: Catholic Institute of Sydney, 1979.

De Lubac, Henri. Brief Catechesis on Nature and Grace. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1984.

Duffy, Stephen J. The Graced Horizon: Nature and Grace in Modern Catholic Thought. Michael Glazier Books, 1992.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald. Grace: A Commentary on the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas, Ia IIae, q.109-14. Translated by The Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastry Menlo Park California. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1957.

_________. Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought. Translated by Patrick Cummins. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1950.

_________. The Three Ages of the Interior Life. (2 vols.). Translated by M. Timothea Doyle. Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1989.

_________. The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life: A Brief Outline of the Main Principles of Ascetical and Mystical Theology. Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1977.

John of St. Thomas. The Gifts of the Holy Ghost. Translated by Dominic Hughes. London: Sheed and Ward, 1951.

Ramsay, Boniface, (ed.). Selected Writings on Grace and Pelagianism (Works of Saint Augustine) (Works of Saint Augustine. New York: New City Press, 2011.

Scheeben, Matthias Joseph. Nature and Grace. Translated by Cyril Vollert. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2009.

Woodbury, Austin. Sanctifying Grace. Sydney: Aquinas Academy, 1965.

_________. The Gifts of the Holy Ghost. Sydney: Aquinas Academy, 1965.

_________. The Indwelling of the Holy Trinity. Sydney: Aquinas Academy (unpublished text), 1960.

_________. The Supernatural and Grace. Sydney: Aquinas Academy (unpublished text), 1965-66.

Scholarly Journal Article:

Woodbury, Austin Maloney. “The Indwelling of the Holy Trinity.” The Australasian Catholic Record for Clergy and Religious, (1940, no.2): 132-148.