Grace, grace, grace, which I always confused

When I read Catechism, the term “grace” is quite confusing. There are at least four types of grace I read: sanctifying grace, habitual grace, actual grace, and special grace. So, recently, I tried to solve my confusion by going through these differences. By reading the Catechism again and again (the related part only), and also some other resources, so, I simplify them,

Sanctifying (or deifying) grace = 圣化恩宠, permanent state of grace.
Habitual grace = 常居的恩宠(宠爱), is also sanctifying grace.
Actual grace = 现时的恩宠(宠佑), transient help to act (intervention of God), different from habitual grace. Also called “gratuitous grace” in Summa Theologica.
Special grace = 特别的恩宠(神恩), also charism, oriented to sanctifying grace. Considered actual grace.

So, conclusion, grace is actually divided into two: sanctifying grace and actual grace.

But I also found something about sacramental grace. Sacramental grace is the grace received when receiving sacraments. So, the grace can be sanctifying grace for permanent or actual grace.

When we lose faith

As a Christian, I always think about the meaning of life. The meaning of life means the reason of living and the purpose to live. Even some Christians, they will relate everything with a meaning.  That means, whatever incident is happened, there is a reason behind, the incident is happened with a purpose. If a person broke a vase, there is also a meaning, may be the vase must be broken. If a person woke up late, may be this is the reason that he could avoid from an accident.

Then, when do we lose faith? For a person believes that every incident happened with a purpose, if a great tragedy happened unexpectedly, without any reason, not understandable, without purpose, the outcome is only difficulty, despair, and sorrowfulness, then this is the time when he might lose his faith. Joseph the Patriarch might lose faith when he was betrayed by his own brothers and sold to Egypt. Job might lose faith when all his children die.

But those who endure and wait until the end of these trials, surely will gain their faith.

Beyond the time and space

We are living in a world with 3-dimensional space: width, height, and length. A point is zero dimension; a line is one dimension with length property; a rectangle is two dimensions with width and height properties; a cube is 3D with width, height, and length properties.

So, how is the fourth dimension? Normally, we will use time for fourth dimension. Why?
Now, if there is a point, with coordinate (x,y). Since it is a point, there is no length, width, or height, thus it is zero dimension. If the point is moving according to axis-y gradually with constant speed, and we record the point with time (t), then we plot the point into a graph, it will become a line as the right side of the image above. Therefore, zero dimension becomes one dimension.

Then, if there is a straight line, as the image above, and the straight line will move according to axis-y, and we record it with time (t), then we plot it again, we will produce a graph like the right side of the above image. Then, we can see that a line becomes a quadrilateral object which is 2D.

Next, if there is a 2D object, namely rectangle. We are using the same method as the above examples, record the position of the rectangle with time (t), then we try to plot it. As a result, we will produce something like the right side of the above image, which is something look like cube. From here, we can see that, the properties are width, height, and time. If we plot the time property into graph, it will just like the length property. That is why, the 2D becomes 3D by adding the time.

From all the examples above, we can find that, the time can be used as an additional dimension not only to the 3D world, but zero dimension, 1D, and 2D. Therefore, if we use a 3D object, and we record it, then we plot it into a graph, then we will produce a 4D object. However, since we are living in 3D world, we cannot understand how a 4D world look it, thus we cannot represent the 4D object visually.

However, if we really want to know how does it look like, we can try to use FFmpeg (software) to convert a movie into a sequence of image files. Then, we try to use an image browser to see the thumbnails of all the image files in one glance. Yes, this is how we can see everything in a glance despise the time.

Now, let us think about, how does the God, who is beyond the time and space, see each one of us?

Jacob’s story

Once there was a man, Jacob. He fell in love with a girl, Rachel. And this Rachel had an elder sister, Leah, and her father, Laban. Jacob wanted to take Rachel as wife. So, Laban asked Jacob to serve him for seven years in order to take her as wife. Then, seven years passed, and Jacob took a wife. Yet, the wife was Leah, because Laban cheated Jacob. Then, Jacob still wanted to take Rachel as wife. So, Laban required Jacob to serve him seven more years.

After serving Jacob seven more years for taking Rachel as his wife, Jacob wanted to leave Laban with his own family. And Laban wanted Jacob to stay, because Laban knew that he was blessed by God for the sake of Jacob. So, Laban told Jacob to point out his (Jacob) wages, so that Laban will give him. Jacob answered him, Laban’s flock was so few before he (Jacob) came, and now they increased so many, and when could he have his own properties for his own house?

Jacob asked Laban to choose those speckled and spotted cattle as his wages, and all the speckled and spotted cattle will be his properties. Laban agreed.

Jacob served Laban with all his power. But Laban, his father in law, deceived him, changed his wages ten times, but God protected Jacob. When Laban said all the speckled cattle would be Jacob’s wages, then all the cattle were born with speckled; if Laban said all the ringstraked would be Jacob’s wages, then all were born with ringstraked.

Laban then jealous of Jacob’s richness. Finally, Jacob left Laban and go to his own country with his properties.