Grace Is What Is Given

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Run Time: 12:43. Gospel: Lk 15:1-3, 11-32.

…against Pelagius, St. Augustine argued for the position of grace, that is, that God first gives the prompting and we cooperate. And in that cooperation with God’s prompting even by the work of coming to holiness, God is helping. So [my seminary professor] asked me, ‘who is Pelagius?’ and my mind, of course, went blank. And I stumbled a bit and he gave me the time period. And then he said, “Well the one who argued against Pelagius was St. Augustine, whom we call the Doctor of Grace,” and I said, “No, no, no! I can do this, don’t help me,” and I got credit, stumbling into the answer.

This is the position of the one we typically call the Prodigal Son, in this probably the greatest and most well-known of our Lord’s parables. From one step to the next you notice what is the most prominent pronoun: me, mine, and I.

“Give me what is mine, what I have coming to me!”

And of course if the father had decided to have a moment of brutal honesty: “Well what do you have coming to you that you didn’t first get from me? Here’s a big empty basket for you.”

[The Prodigal Son] begins with “It is mine.” And of course he goes off and squanders that, and having squandered the inheritance given to him, what is left? Apart from that inheritance of the father there is no sustenance. There is no nourishment. There is no life. And so he finds himself literally wallowing with pigs. And even there, “Well I’ve got the fix, if I could have these pods that I give to the pigs.” We do that ourselves, “I may be in a low state, but I can contrive the fix, I’ve got the answer, I’ve got the solution.” And what seems the treasure is feed for pigs.