Friday, May 28, 2010

"Getting" grace...

Only the Blessed Mother is “full” of it. The saints, I suspect, enter eternal life with nearly a full tank. The rest of us – simple, struggling, hopeful sinners – go through life learning the difference between a life of grace and “running on empty.” The CCC – Catechism of the Catholic Church – defines grace in this way. “Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons [and daughters], partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.” [Part II, Chapter 3, Article 2, 1996] Advanced theological study might include such topics as “sanctifying" grace, prevenient" grace, “ created” vs. “uncreated” grace. All these things are important, but as I continue on the journey, I am more compelled by moments of realization that confirm the reality in question. Yes, God is taking the initiative in the relationship. God is busy loving us before we even get around to loving God. God is, simply put, always loving us first.

I guess I’m interested in how we "wake up" to grace – how, over time and through life experience – become more and more aware that God is with us. It’s so easy to know when the tank is low – when we are consumed with our own issues, concerned about “many things”, like Martha. When we’re there we are generally miserable. We see only what is lacking in us – we feel “grace-less.” But then there are days when we are available to God’s unrelenting invitation. We welcome the Love that wants to inhabit our flesh and God’s uses us – in a good way! God uses our words, our actions, our faces, our hands…our love. And we become a blessing. This kind of graced-living happens more than we realize. The more we cooperate – welcome grace – the more sweetly it flows through us. Over time we begin to recognize what’s happening – believe that God is with us and working through our frailties to make something good happen. This reality – this kind of grace – can change us and others. How God’s unrelenting love does this is beyond our grasp, but it is too good to resist. It just feels good to be used by God.

I am 46 years old and I feel as if I am just getting grace. Three years in seminary and several letters after my name, and it is only through God’s gift of self that I’m getting anything. God – our God – is always there first - waiting, inviting, gifting without limit or measure. Grace is all around us. Grace is unrelenting. Grace…is God being God.
Blessings and love to you all...
- Sister Vicki