Sanctifying Grace

§ 2000 Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God’s call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God’s interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.

It is a supernatural state of being infused by God into our soul that gives us participation in the divine life, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Sanctifying grace belongs to the whole soul, including the intellect and will. It is greater than the virtue of charity because charity belongs only to the will.

Sanctifying grace is a permanent part of our soul as long as we cooperate with its effects. When we have sanctifying grace in our soul we are said to be in the state of grace. If we pass into eternity while in the state of grace we will go either to purgatory or directly to heaven. When we commit a mortal sin, the offended Holy Spirit departs from us and we lose our sanctifying grace. If we pass into eternity while in the state of mortal sin, objectively speaking, we send ourselves to hell.