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Title: Ascetism at the Service of Grace
Author(s): MALDARI, Donald C.
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 28    Issue: 1   Date: spring 2003   
Pages: 32-47
DOI: 10.2143/LS.28.1.501769

Abstract :
Christian theology proposes that the vocation to which God calls all people is nothing less than perfection, holiness, the fullness of human life:'Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect' (Matt 5:48). Christian theology ultimately identifies this perfection as a participation in the divine life of love. Perfection is a daunting goal! Augustine’s theology of grace goes along way to relieve anxiety concerning responsibility for responding to the divine invitation. He demonstrates that God takes the initiative for the response and, with the freely chosen cooperation of human nature, brings the process to fulfillment. Human nature, however, demonstrates a penchant for distraction from this process, i.e., it is sinful. Among the remedies that the Christian Tradition uses against this human penchant for resisting grace is asceticism: religious discipline which hones the human capacity to receive grace efficaciously.

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