In response to a friend’s challenges:
The gift of faith has been given to all of the baptized as a seed that requires nourishment. Yet even if sufficiently nourished during our youth, there comes a time when we have to definitively accept this precious divine gift along with the responsibility to continue to nourish it. This is a personal responsibility and no matter how hard one tries to help others grow in faith, it comes down to a matter of their will. Others can and should strive to inform and educate them and try to instill in them the necessary love for their Triune God – Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. But it is God’s design that they use their own free will – another one of his precious gifts – to accept or reject Him.
For Catholics, there is no excuse to not know their faith. God has provided them with the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. The most recent Catechism of the Catholic Church is a gift from God to all Christians.
When we are baptized we receive sanctifying grace for the first time. Through sanctifying grace our soul is constantly receiving from God its supernatural life just as our body was constantly receiving vital sustenance from our mother when, as a pre-born baby, it dwelled in her womb. Thus our supernatural life is a living organism and it requires constant nourishment.
After our natural birth our life became somewhat dependent on my own actions. For example, we could choose to refuse the food that was provided for the nourishment of our body. If we did so to the extreme, our life would perish. Likewise, the life of our soul will perish if it is not nourished by a continual presence of sanctifying grace.
God cannot dwell in a soul void of grace. If we go into eternity deprived of sanctifying grace, then we have lost God forever. Therefore, once we have received sanctifying grace in Baptism, it then becomes a matter of life-and-death importance that we preserve this supernatural gift throughout our entire life.
It is also important that we increase sanctifying grace within our soul.
These, then, are our three needs with regard to sanctifying grace: firstly, that we preserve it permanently; secondly, that we recover it immediately if we have lost it by mortal sin; thirdly, that we seek to grow in sanctifying grace with an eagerness that sees the sky as the limit.
For a more in-depth explanation please read the following:
The Hardening (must reading)
Your brother in Christ,