In your own faith:
- It can be hard to settle our minds on the idea of “cooperating with grace”. How would you explain the Catholic doctrine on salvation to others?
The first answer that pops into my mind comes originally from St Theresa of Avila. Since I have carried this explanation within me for more than 30 years (since I was 19), it has really become part of me, so it is not a precise quote.
A Catholic concept of grace:
Build a personal aqueduct by digging up hard soil, removing rocks, then using them to build a canal or aqueduct for the water of the Holy Spirit , understanding that you must do all in your power to prepare your heart to be open to receive the Holy Spirit. Confession with true contrition, making amends, prayer, scipture reading, the eucharist.. and many more practices prepare the soil of our hearts to not only receive grace but to carry His Presence without leaking. If we do not prepare, we are like a sieve; we cannot contain the Holy Spirit.
Only God can fill the aqueduct of our heart and soul with the water of the Spirit. When the Spirit does come it is not because of all your work and preparation but sheer mercy and grace.
The sacrament of Confirmation is powerful but that power to transform us into disciples who live and move and breath in His Spirit often lays dormant deep in our souls. We must choose to co-operate out of our own free will. We must choose to fan the flame within us, to allow the Holy Spirit to rise up and take control of our lives. When we let go of control, or in other words let go of pride and our ego, the Holy Spirit has a chance to do His work in us.