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Summa Theologica
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Whether the invisible mission is to all who participate grace?

Objection 1: It would seem that the invisible mission is not to all who participate grace. For the Fathers of the Old Testament had their share of grace. Yet to them was made no invisible mission; for it is said (Jn. 7:39): "The Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." Therefore the invisible mission is not to all partakers in grace.

Objection 2: Further, progress in virtue is only by grace. But the invisible mission is not according to progress in virtue; because progress in virtue is continuous, since charity ever increases or decreases; and thus the mission would be continuous. Therefore the invisible mission is not to all who share in grace.

Objection 3: Further, Christ and the blessed have fullness of grace. But mission is not to them, for mission implies distance, whereas Christ, as man, and all the blessed are perfectly united to God. Therefore the invisible mission is not to all sharers in grace.

Objection 4: Further, the Sacraments of the New Law contain grace, and it is not said that the invisible mission is sent to them. Therefore the invisible mission is not to all that have grace.

On the contrary, According to Augustine (De Trin. iii, 4; xv, 27), the invisible mission is for the creature's sanctification. Now every creature that has grace is sanctified. Therefore the invisible mission is to every such creature.

I answer that, As above stated (AA[3],4,5), mission in its very meaning implies that he who is sent either begins to exist where he was not before, as occurs to creatures; or begins to exist where he was before, but in a new way, in which sense mission is ascribed to the divine persons. Thus, mission as regards the one to whom it is sent implies two things, the indwelling of grace, and a certain renewal by grace. Thus the invisible mission is sent to all in whom are to be found these two conditions.

Reply to Objection 1: The invisible mission was directed to the Old Testament Fathers, as appears from what Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 20), that the invisible mission of the Son "is in man and with men. This was done in former times with the Fathers and the Prophets." Thus the words, "the Spirit was not yet given," are to be applied to that giving accompanied with a visible sign which took place on the day of Pentecost.

Reply to Objection 2: The invisible mission takes place also as regards progress in virtue or increase of grace. Hence Augustine says (De Trin. iv, 20), that "the Son is sent to each one when He is known and perceived by anyone, so far as He can be known and perceived according to the capacity of the soul, whether journeying towards God, or united perfectly to Him." Such invisible mission, however, chiefly occurs as regards anyone's proficiency in the performance of a new act, or in the acquisition of a new state of grace; as, for example, the proficiency in reference to the gift of miracles or of prophecy, or in the fervor of charity leading a man to expose himself to the danger of martyrdom, or to renounce his possessions, or to undertake any arduous work.

Reply to Objection 3: The invisible mission is directed to the blessed at the very beginning of their beatitude. The invisible mission is made to them subsequently, not by "intensity" of grace, but by the further revelation of mysteries; which goes on till the day of judgment. Such an increase is by the "extension" of grace, because it extends to a greater number of objects. To Christ the invisible mission was sent at the first moment of His conception; but not afterwards, since from the beginning of His conception He was filled with all wisdom and grace.

Reply to Objection 4: Grace resides instrumentally in the sacraments of the New Law, as the form of a thing designed resides in the instruments of the art designing, according to a process flowing from the agent to the passive object. But mission is only spoken of as directed to its term. Hence the mission of the divine person is not sent to the sacraments, but to those who receive grace through the sacraments.

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