Monday, October 4, 2004

Christian Heritage - October 3 - We Receive Faith as a Gift From God

"The relationship between our soul and body affords a good comparison with the working of God's grace. Just as by itself the body has no life, but receives life from the soul, so we cannot have faith unless we receive it as a gift from God. And just as the soul is the one thing the body needs to live, so also grace is the one thing we must have in order to believe. As the body can do nothing if the soul ceases to give it life, so our wills are incapable of choosing what is right if the help of grace is withdrawn from us. Thus the body relies upon the life-giving presence of the soul, enabling it to live and work, and we are continually assisted by life-giving grace, enabling us to want and do what is right. There is, however, a difference, for when our body is given life by the soul, it receives the power to do evil as well as good, but when grace gives us life, it enables us only to will and do what is right."

Fulgentius of Ruspe (AD 468-533), bishop of Ruspe in northern Africa, Rp. XVII episcoporum 46-47: CCL 91A, 599-600

I have to wonder about that last line. It sounds a bit too Jansenist, even for a stolid Augustinian like Fulgentius....

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