Fr. Louis Guardiola, C.P.M.
In biblical language the condescension or benevolence (Greek ‘Charis’) shown by God toward the human race; it is also the unmerited gift proceeding from His benevolent disposition. Grace, therefore, is a totally gratuitous gift on which man has absolutely no claim. Where on occasion the Scriptures speak of grace as pleasing charm or thanks for favors received, this is a derived not a primary use of the term.
As the Church has come to explain the meaning of grace, it refers to something more than the gifts of nature, such as creation or the blessings of bodily health. Grace is the supernatural gift that God, of His free benevolence, bestows on rational creatures for their eternal salvation. The gifts of grace are essentially supernatural. They surpass the being, powers, and claims of created nature, and are, namely: sanctifying grace, the infused virtues, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and actual grace.
They are the indispensable means necessary to reach heavenly beatitude. In a secondary sense, grace also includes such blessings as the miraculous gifts of healing or prophecy, or the preternatural gifts of freedom from concupiscence.
The essence of grace, properly so called, is it’s gratuity, since no creature has a right to the Beatific Vision, and it’s finality or purpose is to lead one to eternal life. Grace is from the Latin gratia, favor, a gift freely given.