Grace is a supernatural gift of God to an
intelligent creature, bestowed to enable us to merit eternal life. There are two
kinds of grace, actual and sanctifying (also called habitual). Actual grace is a
supernatural help given to us by God to avoid evil and to do good, it affects
the faculties of will and intellect. Actual grace operates in the soul by
illuminating it, so that a person can differentiate between good and evil and
choose to do good. St. Augustine explained grace as the “will and performance.”
He explained, that we cannot take credit for any beneficial act we perform as it
is in actuality God working in and through us to accomplish His will.
Sanctifying grace is that grace which sanctifies
the soul and makes it pleasing to God. It also has an absolutely supernatural
quality, essentially and permanently dwelling in the soul by which we are made
sons and daughters of God. The moment we receive the precious gift of
sanctifying grace we pass from the state of sin to the state of grace.