Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Grace

A post on grace from my archives:


"It is not enough for me that God has given me grace once, but He must give it always. I ask, that I may receive; and when I have received, I ask again. I am covetous of receiving God's bounty. He is never slow in giving, nor am I ever weary of receiving. The more I drink, the more thirsty I become."
                                                                                                       St. Jerome

Cars run on gasoline, people run on grace. Without God's grace we would stall and break down daily. Grace is everything and everything is a grace. All of it. Every single thing in life can be a stepping stone to the Almighty God if we allow it to be. I have a little booklet that I like to leaf through now and then called The Healing Flame of Love and one section of this booklet speaks about how grace works in our lives. The author's words are in italics, mine are in bold.

a. Grace is completely available.
There is not just one thing to do at each moment, or I fail to do God's will; there are a multitude of actions presented to me by grace. Different ways to act are as available as different items in a supermarket - yet appointed for my needs with great care.
This is something that always confused me before I read this book. Was there one "perfect" God-willed thing that I should be doing each minute of the day? Was I doing God's will or my own? Some things are common sense such as taking care of one's family or working, but what about the rest of the day? The idea that there are a multitude of actions presented to me at any given time and that they were in line with God's will for me relieved my heart and mind.

b. Grace gives us the physical ability to do the things necessary for salvation.

c. Cooperation with grace puts me in touch with a tremendous power. If we believe that we are and can do nothing, we must believe there is a power that can do everything. This power is, of course, God. Cooperation with His ideas, acceptance of His plans can make the power available.
Example: You cannot push a freight train, yet a small movement of the throttle and the whole train starts to move.

d. Grace operates below the level of consciousness.
Wonderful things - like the operation of grace, God speaking to us, the Spirit moving us, etc. - are continually causing changes in our soul. We are unaware either of their action or their significance. 
Example: Consider what happens in Baptism, etc., or what happened when the prodigal son said, "I will return..." 
We can't "see" grace, but we can often see the results of grace. It is impossible not to notice the work God has done in me over the years. Were I took look day by day, the effects grace has had on my life may be imperceptible but if I look over a period of ten years they are profound. I shake my head in amazement at God's power. Yes, I have a long way to go, but I have also come a long way.

e. God will not sanctify me against my will, but He can change my will to make it agree with His desires.

f. Grace is a receiving.
The really important thing to understand about grace is that we receive it as a gift. We do not earn it or receive it because we seem to have done something to deserve it. If we are at all interested in arriving at a high degree of prayer (in order to increase our output) we must appreciate this function of grace, for in contemplation our activity is a receiving.
I love this one. Grace is unearned and unmerited. It is a pure, free, gift given by a loving God. Every person on this earth is a recipient of God's grace though they may not realize it. 

We live on grace.

9 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, Mary. My favorite line was "Every single thing we do in life can be a stepping stone to the Almighty God if we allow it to be." If we allow it to be--yes! That's the part we need to remember.

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  2. Thank you, Kathleen :) I hope you and the kids are enjoying your summer!

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  3. Pure gift. Amen.
    Great article, Mary.

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  4. Mary, I heard a story about St. Joan of Arc regarding grace. The "authorities" tricked her with a question asking her whether or not she was in a state of grace. Her reply: "If I'm not, may God lead me there, and if I am, may God keep me there." It was a brilliant answer from an uneducated young girl!

    My favorite bishop once said that the reason we need to keep returning to Mass and confession is because we keep losing grace through our sinful everyday actions and by returning to the sacraments, we re-fuel our souls with God's grace once again. Makes sense to me!

    Great post!

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  5. Mary, what a wonderful post! I love St. Jerome's comment about being "covetous" about God's Grace. Normally, we aren't supposed to be covetous, but with possessing "more" of God..Yes!

    Your analogy about the car running on gas and people running on grace was perfect..and made me laugh. So, that's why I sputter along on some days...need more grace! :)

    I'm intrigued by what you wrote about more than one option to use free time with grace. I've always also thought there has to be the one perfect thing I'm supposed to be doing, and never really knowing what that is.

    So much to think about here! Thank you for sharing this wonderful post! xoxo

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  6. Hi Colleen,
    I think we'll be bowled over one day when we see how God has flooded us with grace our entire lives :)

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  7. Hi Anne,
    I loved your comment - both the story of St. Joan of Arc and what the bishop relayed to you :) It makes sense to me too!

    I can't get one of the quotes in your recent post out of my mind - it made me look at motherhood in a new way. Thanks for posting it. I hope you copied some of the other gems down before "purging" your house!

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  8. Hi Patricia,
    I loved the quote from St. Jerome too! Finally, a time to be greedy :)

    It was consoling to read that there might be a bunch of things that fit in with God's will in any given moment. This always confused me a bit. Well, at least I knew I was doing His will during the night by sleeping ;) Or trying to...lol.

    God bless!

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  9. Everything good we do is a result of pure grace. Loved this post.

    Just a story: this week I was fertilizing the veggies. This entails putting crystals in a large watering can and pouring it on the plants. I still had a lot to do and my lower back was killing me. My muscles were burning. I wanted to quit, and we don't have that many plants to deal with.

    I said, "Lord, you have to help me with this job. My back hurts so bad I'm going to have to quit if you don't help me." My pain disappeared and I was able to finish the job. Grace. Pure grace.

    God bless you, Mary.

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