As I was out on my morning walk today a word kept floating into my mind. I am a person who loves words. When people ask me what my favorite book is I like to say two, the Bible and the Dictionary. (It's true!) The word that kept floating in was grace.
I am a cradle Catholic, baptized a month and a half after I was born. I went to Faith Formation after school or on Saturday mornings until 6th grade, then I went to Catholic school through 12th grade. I was taught things like a Sacrament is a visible and sacred sign instituted by Jesus to give us grace. But I was not taught what grace is. As an adult I've heard people say things like, "By the grace of God she wasn't hurt in the accident." And then there's Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
On my early morning walks I am usually in a conversation with Jesus in my mind. I do better talking to Him than I do listening to Him. This morning my mind was full of thoughts telling Jesus all about how I'm failing. It's difficult for me to stay motivated. I'm not working out as much as I think I should. I'm not eating as healthy as I should be. Grace. I am not creating exciting ways to grow in faith at home via Facebook, Instagram or with other social media things I don't know the name of because I'm not a tech person. Grace. I'm not writing a great book. I'm not reading a book a week. Grace. I'm not joyfully going through these days at home, feeling blessed by them. Grace. What the heck is grace and why is that word interrupting my conversation?! Oh....a conversation takes at least two. Is that you Lord?
One of the many definitions in the dictionary of grace is "unmerited love and favor of God towards humankind." (Webster's New World Dictionary, pg. 584)
Number 279 of the YOUCAT says, "When God gives us His strength, we call this 'grace'." It continues, "God gives us the ability actually to do the good that we want to do." (YOUCAT, pg. 162)
On my walk this morning Jesus was telling me that He loves me, and each of you, just as we are, in this moment. He was also telling me, and each of you, that life is not easy right now and He gives us grace - His strength that is greater than any superpower. His gift of grace gives us the strength to live through these very different days. Even more, His grace gives us the strength to have moments where we rise above the struggle and shine.
And once again, not coincidence but God-incidence; I came home from my walk to read today's Mass readings to find this:
"When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart..." Acts 11:23
Jesus' disciples had fled for fear of their lives after Stephen, a beloved disciple was stoned to death for preaching about Jesus. In today's reading, Barnabas went to one of the far towns they fled to and found disciples preaching and thousands becoming Christian. Through the gift of the grace of God they preached and many believed.
How does the gift of God's grace bless you, right now, in this moment? It's a good word!
Click here and let it make you dance!