Wellspring Community

Wellspring - Fr. Lawrence 020

Keeping Faith Alive (5)

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good…….Now from the depth of heart, wish your mind well……

Now I invite you to consecrate this day and all that come with this day….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

I pray for you and I pray for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day! May God bless you and keep you safe in the center of His Love!

I invite you to pray for each other and for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day!

Our last meditation was on being forgiven and graced. We contemplated the joy of being forgiven! This meditation is on being graced…on being healed, formed, shaped and transformed by God’s Grace.

Many think of Grace as a little prayer that is said before a meal. Others think of Grace as something you get because you have done a good deed or said a good prayer or participated in a spiritual activity. Still others think of Grace as something you can get and get more of it and accumulate it and even offer it to someone else. But Grace is not just a simple prayer or a simple act of generosity or something that you can accumulate.

Grace is the gift of Gods’ Covenant Love, unconditional, unconquerable, steadfast Love. It is a way of living in God’s Love and a way of acting in God’s Love.

The “Year of Faith” is a wonderful opportunity for us to open our hearts to the Grace of God and be shaped, formed and transformed by His Grace.

Grace is a free gift of a personal, benevolent, and loving God. God is gracious so that grace is the favor and love of God poured out generously on His children. Grace is God’s gift of Love, completely free and undeserved and unmerited. Grace is God’s personal being-present to human existence throughout the course of history, His personal presence to every human being.

Grace restores us to wholeness and frees us to love. With all the sin and evil in the world, we still find love. This is a reality because God is love and what inspires love is God’s Grace. It opens a human spirit curved in on itself in the direction of God.

Grace enhances human freedom. God’s grace does not replace human freedom, but fulfills it by enhancing its own potentiality.

Grace unites us with God and transforms us to share God’s divine life. Through grace the human person is justified and sanctified and God dwells within so that we share God’s life. The union with God in grace is not an escape from the world but it is freedom from the world in order to be freely immersed in it.

Our response to God’s Grace is an ongoing, life-long process, not a finished product. Human response to grace has been understood in terms of the virtues of faith, hope and love, which are themselves gifts of Grace.

Faith is the most basic human response to grace. The faith that is a response to God’s grace is itself is a gift of grace. So the faith that responds is not in full human control, it is God’s gift, comes from God’s initiative. Whenever a person experiences a call to self-transcendence, to an acceptance of value beyond the self, the person is experiencing grace. Whenever a person surrenders the self to such values by an active commitment to them, the person is responding to God in faith.

Hope is another way human beings respond to God’s grace. Hope is traditionally defined as a virtue distinct from faith. But hope is not separate and distinct from faith. Hope is faith directed to the future. Hope points to a basic attitude of trust in God. Hope is a fundamental openness to truth, God’s truth. Hope finds its defining ground in Jesus.

Love is a gift of grace and love is a response to grace. Though faith and hope and love may be distinctly defined and distinguished, the three are inseparable and imply each other. One without the other is incomplete. Faith without love is neither authentic nor real. Love of God in the neighbor and love of neighbor as one loved by God can not simply be reduced to interpersonal relationships. Response to grace entails concern for others, concern for social structures and for institutions in which all participate.

We are physical beings. But we are not just physical beings, we are socials being, interdependent beings. So we need to guide our conduct, our behavior to function cohesively, harmoniously and meaningfully well. We need God’s Grace to help us make good choices and decisions, to guide us in our conduct, to teach us right behavior, to help us develop a right attitude toward others and the world around.

We are not just physical, interdependent and social beings. We are spiritual beings. We are dependent on God. We need to live godly lives. We need the Grace of God to live godly lives. We need to live in God’s grace.

We are not just any spiritual being. We are Christians, disciples of Jesus. We need to respond to God’s grace the Christian way. We need to guide our life with Christian values and morals. We need to align our will to God’s will, our plan to God’s plan and purpose, our life to God’s Grace.

We need to live in Grace and from Grace. Our faith and our hope and our love must be lived out in human relationships as we respond to God’s Grace

St. Paul tells us, “The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy. He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. (Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7)

Reflect on what Paul says:

  • The Grace of God has appeared saving all;
  • training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires;
  • training us to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age
  • so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)

Reflect on what Paul says:

  • by grace you have been saved through faith;
  • this is not your doing, but the gift of God

St. Paul also tells us: Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

Reflect on what Paul says:

  • My grace is sufficient for you,
  • My power is made perfect in weakness.”

An African king had a childhood friend who was very close to him. This friend had a curious habit: whatever happened in life, positive or negative, he always said: all is grace!

One day the king and his friend went out hunting. His friend prepared the guns for the king, unfortunately and by mistake one of the guns exploded in the hands of the king and deprived him of his thumb.

At the time this accident happened, the friend said, as usual, “Everything is grace!”
To this, the king who was really angry, replied ‘No, there is no grace in it “and gave proof to his friend by throwing him in jail.

A year later, the king went hunting very far out of his kingdom and encountered some cannibals who captured and took him prisoner in their village. Once there, they tied him up to a tree trunk, put wood around it for the king to roast and eat him alive….

But as soon as the king was about to be set on fire, the cannibals noticed that he was missing a thumb….believing that by eating him they would lose a thumb…they detached the King and let him go.

On the way home, exhausted and shocked the king remembered the circumstances in which he had lost his thumb. Upon his arrival, he went right to the prison to talk to his friend. “You were right, my friend, he said, it was a grace that I lost my thumb.”

And then he told his friend what had happened.  “I beg you to forgive me for leaving you to rot in jail for so long. It was wrong of me for having done that.”

And his friend replied (as expected): “But no my king, instead all is grace!”

“What do you mean? How does throwing you in jail, you, my friend, could it be a favor?” said the king.

“Well” replied his friend…”In fact, if I had not been in prison I was to be with you. And they would have eaten me.”  The king opened his eyes in amazement.

What happens to us in life does not always seem to make sense. But keeping a positive attitude and trusting in God’s Grace, we’ll find a way to find His “GRACE” even in difficult and trying times. Let us always thank God for everything that happens to us and pray for the Grace to live gracefully!

Dwell on the story for some time.

May the “Year of Faith” be God’s wonderful gift to you and I pray that you will make it a gracious and joyful gift to others.

 

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs