Friday, October 7, 2011

Grace

"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 every single day. Grace is everything and everything is a grace. 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 by Brother Leonard 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 are 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.
Yes, He did this to me. What a tremendous gift!

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 single person on this earth is a recipient of God's grace though they may not realize it. 

We live on grace.

18 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. God's grace, God's love has given us the free will to choose. We can accept his grace or not.

    As we accept it, in time, we learn to understand His will and we act and behave as He would wish us to behave.

    So, we're not controlled by His will, we're not robotically following a pre-determined path, but in accepting His grace we almost become united in Him in that we do His will here on earth.

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  3. Mary, thank you for posting about Grace! I have long taken Grace for granted not fully understanding it. Now I really try to appreciate every grace-filled moment.

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  4. Hi Victor,
    I agree, it's all about cooperating with God's grace. We always have a choice in the matter. I know from past experience that we can lose our sensitivity to His grace and our own "ill" will can reign. Nothing good ever comes of it. I am thankful that the Lord stepped in and gave me the desire to do His Will. I may fail in this at times but the desire is always there.

    Thanks for commenting, Victor!

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  5. You're welcome, Esther! I am reflecting on grace this week in preparation for my reconsecration to Our Lady. God bless you and thank you for your post on the Rosary. This feast day was the perfect time to read it.

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  6. My comment went by by that I sent in the car. Thank you so much for posting this. It taught me and just lingering over the words, they were resonating in my mind and in my soul.

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  7. Mary,
    This post made me think of St Ignatius' prayer and the hymn based on it, Take Lord, Receive. "Give me only Your love and Your grace; that's enough for me. As you said, we run on grace. I think the more we are aware of that, the more we will try to cooperate with God's grace in our lives and like St Jerome, we will thirst for it all the more.

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  8. I loved this post Mary. This grace is a treasure that is given to us at every moment...freely. Think how many times we are not aware of that and it is wasted! Thanks for the reminder.~Theresa

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  9. Colleen(ID),
    My comments have been disappearing for the last two weeks ;)I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

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  10. Colleen (TOG)
    You're welcome! I know three Colleen's online and all of you would kill me if you knew the nicknames I have for the three of you. I'll only say that they come from Dr Seuss books. Hey, I need some way to differentiate between you three, especially since two of you have the same initials ;)

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  11. Karinann,
    Thanks for your comment. Grace is a subject that has interested me for years...I think I've done twenty or thirty posts on grace though I haven't tagged them all this way. Everything about grace fascinates me for some reason. I don't always feel the grace I am receiving but I am always aware through faith that the Lord is constantly plying us with it and I love seeing the effects of it in both myself and others.

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  12. Theresa,
    Thank you...I'm glad you liked it! I am sure I wasted a lot of grace over the years, especially when I was young. I went to a Catholic school for a while as a child but I don't remember ever learning about grace. It wasn't until I became an adult that I really began noticing the graces God was constantly pouring into people and reflecting on this great gift.

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  13. I love these, but in particular letter E. It sums up very nicely a phenomenon that is hard to explain sometimes. Now I have the cliff notes version!

    God Bless you.

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  14. Michael,
    Thanks! I love e, also. Over a period of time the Lord softened my heart and changed my "ill will" for which I'm very thankful. No doubt He's still working on this. God bless you, too :)

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  15. Mary,

    When I first became a Catholic I read "The Faith Explained". I think it is by Leo Trese. A good beginner book for new Catholics. I first came across the concept of grace in this book. I remember sitting there and pondering and then feeling very, very excited. Yes, a tremendous gift. I will have to reflect some more. Thank you for your post!

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  16. You're welcome, Sue! I don't think I've ever heard of the book "The Faith Explained". Is it something that would be good for young people too?

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  17. "Cars run on gasoline, people run on grace." An awesome thought for meditation.

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