Friday, July 29, 2011

Actual Grace



Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


When praying to the Lord I often request "actual graces". This is the term used for the special grace God gives to perform a particular task and I've noticed that when I pray for these "actual graces" God always grants them as long as I am praying in accord with His Will for me and with regard to my station in life. As far as I can tell, He has never refused this request though it is quite likely that I have failed to respond to them fully when given. Actual grace is a bit different than sanctifying grace. I like to think of actual grace as "the grace of the present moment". Since I am not a a theologian I realize that this definition is a bit off so here (and here) are more precise explanations of actual grace and the help it provides us. These special graces are given to us to help us, in a supernatural way, complete a task God is asking of us. He gives us "a leg up" so to speak. They are temporary and not to be confused with sanctifying grace, the grace which communicates supernatural life into the soul at baptism.

I have noticed in my own life that the more often I ask for and respond to "actual grace" the more I get. God is generous in his giving. I call it the "grace of the present moment" because it is in the present that I receive this help from God. Certainly, I can pray for the "actual grace" to accomplish an important task tomorrow but I don't receive the special grace until the precise time it is needed.

There is a certain purity attached to the present moment. Each new day becomes a clean slate to write on. What we write on this slate is up to us. The term "present" has not gone unnoticed by me and as we unwrap the gift of today may we remember to treasure this gift, ask for the grace to live it well and give thanks because the gift tag contains the signature of the Almighty God.

"This is the day the Lord has made;  let us rejoice in it and be glad!"     Psalm  118:24

22 comments:

  1. Mary, it is so true that today is a gift, given to us by the Almighty. Thank you for the reminder!

    Have a good weekend.

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  2. Mary,
    I like the "grace of the present moment". God gives us so much so often. I think praying for these actual graces can actually help to make us more aware of them (even the ones I may not have asked for)when they are given.
    Thanks and God bless.

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  3. Dear Mary, thank you for something beautiful to think on. You always inspire me to learn more...I feel there is so much, especially regarding grace, that I don't know and don't take advantage of in my life. Maybe this deserves some special attention.

    Hope you are well and having a lovely summer.

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  4. Hi Mary,
    Every day is a gift and I am thankful for each and every one of them :) God bless!

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  5. Hi Karin,
    I think you are right about that. I pay greater attention to these things than I did years ago. God bless you, too :)

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  6. Hi Colleen,
    I hope you are enjoying your summer, too :) Thanks for commenting!

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  7. This is beautiful to read, Mary. It's so comforting to know that God is ready to give us a leg up when we need it - it shows that we can face life without fear, doesn't it?

    Thank you for sharing, Mary. It's very inspiring!:)

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  8. Mary, love this post.
    I may have said this before, but a friend of mine often thinks of grace being like rain that God pours down on us all of the time. I love that image.
    Also, my spiritual director used to tell me that God has so many graces to give us but we don't ask! We need to ask for them!

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  9. Hi Mary, we are so fortunate that Our God is such a loving and forgiving God. I would hate to imagine the long list of sins on my slate if He didn't wipe them clean when we ask for forgiveness! Blessings!

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  10. Thank you, Vicky :) I don't think we need to fear anything at all because God is always there to help us. This doesn't mean we'll never suffer but we can know that God is right there with us and ready to help. (You can't get much closer than IN us, can you? Lol!) Of course, I still fear sometimes because I still need work :)

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  11. Colleen,
    That paints a beautiful picture in my mind too! God likes us to ask because God loves to give. God bless!

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  12. Noreen,
    Me too. I was in terrible spiritual condition before God stepped in. I think I just got overwhelmed by all the sins I committed when I was young and couldn't understand how God could see past this. I had little understanding of his mercy back then. He is always quick to forgive us when we come to Him with a contrite heart.

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  13. This is something for me to ponder...Thank you, Mary for reminding me to ask for the grace of the present moment. God has so much He wants to give us and most of us don't even think to ask. How much we are missing out on!

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  14. Thank you for accepting me as a guest blogger on the Catholic Blogs website, i now follow your blog and find it wonderful.

    GodBless

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  15. Sue,
    I'm glad you liked the post. Praying for actual grace also helps to remind us of God's constant presence within us so it leaves us doubly blessed :)

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  16. Welcome Isaac! We are happy to have you aboard and will add you as a guest blogger :) God bless!

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  17. This is such an excellent post, Mary. You've explained actual grace with simplicity. Sometimes we can know something intellectually, but we don't really know it until we recognize it working in us.

    Living in the present moment is hard to do, yet doing it is living like God to Whom all things are present. I'm reminded of the words of Jesus in Matt 6:25: Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?

    Thanks for a great post.

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  18. Thank you, Barb! I love this Bible passage from Matthew - it's beautiful and a great reminder that God is in control and we need not worry about our lives. God bless!

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  19. "There is a certain purity attached to the present moment." I like that!

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  20. I had to put this post up on my FB page. Wonderful. Wonderful!

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  21. Thanks Anne! I hope you and your family are well! You are in my prayers :)

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  22. Hi ThereseRita,
    Thank you! I'm glad you liked it :) Randy and I just started a Facebook page last week and I sent you a friend request. I'm just hoping I sent it to the right person! God bless!

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