Tuesday, February 16, 2016

“God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know His holy will, and to do it fully.”

“Grace does not destroy nature, it perfects it.” -Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274: Doctor of the Church. He was an Italian Dominican friar Roman Catholic priest, who was an immensely influential philosopher and theologian)

Scripture Text: (IS 55:10-11)
Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

In the passage from the prophet Isaiah, God compares the grace He sends us to the rain and snow which water the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, and giving us food.  Grace is "the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to His call" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1996).  Grace also demands our "free response" (CCC, 2002).  So, grace is a gift from God that inspires and empowers us but it does not transform us immediately.  We have to respond or yield in faith to the grace that God sends us in order for it to change us.

Grace and faith work together.  Imagine a father trying to get his child into the pool so he could teach her to swim.  He tells her not to be afraid, to jump into the water and he'll catch her.  The grace of God is like the father with his open arms, while the child's decision to jump into the water is an act of faith.  The child jumps in because she trusts the father and believes in his waiting, open and safe arms.  "Similarly, our leap of faith into the arms of Christ is the only way we'll be safe."

"Grace is costly because it calls us to leave behind our old selves and to follow God."  Like Abraham, Moses and our Blessed Mother Mary, they were all touched by grace, and they all surrendered their lives to God in faith, and God did wonders through them.

God's grace is always available to us.  May we all learn to stay connected to that grace and our Lord will see to it that the grace He sends "shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it" (Is 55: 11).

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