Anticipatory grace

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The saving action of Jesus extends to the whole of time outside of time. Jesus is the sole Mediator of all grace, so the grace poured out upon the saints of the Old Testament is from Jesus. Where there is grace, there is Jesus.

God saves whom He wills. He is not in time as we are. His hands are not tied by "before" and "after," as ours are. The greatest example of grace working backwards in time (from our point of view) is the preservation of Mary from Original Sin in her Immaculate Conception. Her gift of Immaculate Conception is given to her at the moment of her conception, before she can understand the gift and ratify it by an act of faith. The grace flows from the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus before He is conceived within her womb, before He dies on the Cross, and before He rises from the dead.

Mary does not stand alone, but is the summit of all of God's graceful and Providential outpouring of love in the Old Testament. Joseph's holiness is another example of anticipatory grace. He died before Jesus began His saving work. Mary lived to see Jesus die and rise. She received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. She received the sacraments of the Church. Joseph had none of those benefits, and yet we rank him as a saint, and a great saint, in the life of the Church.

The apostles, too: how many of them were baptized by Jesus? I don't think we have any account of Jesus baptizing anybody (?) or any of the apostles. We know the apostles did some baptizing during the public ministry of Jesus. The grace of baptism may have been given the apostles outside the sacramental order.

OT: The Holy Spirit has "spoken through the prophets."