I understand that we do not actually 'get' it but 'receive' it as and when God wills. God 'gives' it to us is how I perceive it. For a soul in the state of grace, that is, when one is a Catholic, practicing the faith, receiving the Sacraments then God offers it to the soul that keeps watch over his/her own soul, that is, continually aware of its sinfulness and exercising the gift of true contrition, making reparation by acts of self-denial. If we do not keep watch, say if we're satisfied with a minimalist effort on our part, we miss countless actual graces and fail to progress in holiness. Also, our hearts are very hard to start with and we may not be open to receiving his actual grace even though in a state of sanctifying grace. However, such a soul will inevitably slip back into tepidity. If we do not go forward we go backwards. Hence generous souls have done penance for us like the great contemplative saints/martyrs. We have to pick up where they have left off and go forward. All too often, however, we take the credit for ourselves and lose actual graces.deus vult said:This question has gotten the wheels turning quite freely now and I feel like I'm on a roll toward understanding something I've always taken for granted. We first receive sanctifying grace at baptism and without it, the life of God in us, we cannot enter heaven.
Thinking about it, actual grace we need on a daily and constant basis. So, I have a question to ask. How do we get actual grace?
For someone outside the church, who is not in a state of sanctifying grace, I believe actual grace is offered to that soul in response to the prayers of those inside the Church for the salvation of souls that God still awaits - for example the Jews. The Jews will convert because of the prayers emanating from within the Church. We, ordinary Catholics know that our own souls are graced due to the merits of the saints who continued Christ's suffering on earth (contemplatives and martyrs who reign with God in heaven). It is our obligation to pray for souls outside the Church especially since the redemption of our own souls is due to the prayers and sacrifices of others. We have the mission to pray for the Jews who will be converted; for relatives, heretics, great sinners, the dying; the conversion of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary etc. The reason for this is because Catholics belong to the mystical Body of Christ where we, ourselves, receive countless graces by way of the merits of the saints that we cannot and have not merited for ourselves. Our suffrages for The Holy Souls in Purgatory can speed their deliverance from Purgatory. Their prayers for us are very powerful according to St. Theresa of Avila.
Thus the Church is missionary. Each one of us is a missionary. It is our duty.
The above is simply my own understanding and anything not in conformity with Catholic teaching is open to correction.