Grace and Psychology


By Rev Fr William Goh


By Rev Fr William Goh

Set of 6 cds

1.  The Right and Wrong Notions of Sin

Grace is opposed to sin.  By deepening our understanding of human freedom, we can better understand the nature of sin.  This talk will discuss the ultimate sin which is the sin against the Holy Spirit; the distinction between mortal and venial sin.  Whilst such a distinction is helpful, it has its limitations and can lead to legalism.  It is therefore necessary to clarify the wrong and right notions of sin.

2.  Is Sin Purely a Subjective Matter or Does It Have an Objective Dimension? 

In Catholic teaching, sin is not simply left to the individual person to decide what is and what is not a grave sin.  When we speak of sin, we are dealing with divine truth. The Church as the guardian of Truth in matters of faith and morals provides us the objective dimension of sin independent of our preferences.  What are the implications of the Church’s pronouncement on the sinful nature of a particular act?  How do we reconcile the objective dimension of sin with that of the individual conscience, that is, the subjective conscience of man?

3.  Grace and the Exercise of Freedom

Theologically, as Catholics we share in the freedom of the children of God.  How then does grace influence our freedom with respect to election and sin? Specifically, we have to deal with the psychological process in the exercise of freedom.  Every free action is dependent on our fundamental option on one hand, and the concrete exercise of this personal basic option in our daily life.  These two aspects should work in perfect harmony but often there is a lack of integration.  What impacts this capacity to carry out the freedom of God is sin and our fallen nature.  Hence, grace is necessary to heal man of his inner division before he can live a life of integrity.

4.  Is Experiential Knowledge of Grace Possible?

Since grace is supernatural because of its divine origin, how can we have an experiential knowledge of it and recognize it as such?  Due to the complexity of our psychology, our biological, psychic, rational and spiritual functions are so interwoven that it is difficult to tell when grace is acting and when we are acting.   This calls for discernment as we try to see His presence at work in our conscience, faith, hope and love.                

5.   Grace and its Healing Effects on the Human Person

Grace has to do with death and life.  By infusing into our souls His living and recreating grace, God heals us by forgiving and mitigating the effects of both original and personal sins.   But grace not only heals, it elevates us to share in the life of God which is the basis for our claim to being “sons/daughters” in and with the Son.  However, it can only take place if we do not resist His grace.  This is where the challenge is because man does not surrender easily to God.  We are paralyzed by fear and by our past experiences.  How does one let go and surrender oneself to God? How does grace renew the entire person bringing about an integral and wholesome spirituality? Grace protects the ecology of the human body.

6.   Grace and its Transforming Effects on the World

Grace affects and changes the human person but the objective order of the world remains the same. The body is still prone to sickness and pain. .Although Grace cannot change the objective world, it does change the secularized world. Grace changes the world of sin to a world of love.  Grace makes possible for God’s providential love to work in nature, history, miracles, science, culture, art and ordinary events.  Through grace, we recognize God’s presence in our world and in our lives.  Hence, grace sanctifies the world at its very foundation and the material world is blessed in Christ.  Through grace, the world finds its meaning in Christ through the proper stewardship of man.