Grace to you!
We continue our reflection on grace. For the past four days, we have been talking about sanctifying grace. We shall continue to do so till the end of this week before we switch to other forms of grace.
In the Gospel of Matthew 18:12-14, we find one of the most encouraging words from Our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s addressed not only to believers but also to those who are yet to accept the grace of God for their salvation.
“Jesus said to his disciples: “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost” (Matthew 18:12-14).
You remember the other place in Scripture where Saint Paul admonished believers to pray for those in authority? He ended his appeal by saying that it is good to do so and “acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I timothy 2:3-4).
The above two texts speak to the heart of God’s love for us and His will for our salvation. Though you may have read about different theological positions trying to argue that “God’s will for the salvation of all” should be understood that no one will be lost, the so-called theory of universalism of salvation (in its different forms), and the view that the Good God will never allow anyone to go to hell. I am not going into those arguments now since they aren’t the goal of our daily reflections. One word though, we shouldn’t presume or take God’s grace for granted.
We must be certain of this, God’s will for the salvation of His people, isn’t simply a wish without some actions following it. God’s will for salvation is followed by God’s action for our salvation. The very reason the Lord Jesus became man was to accomplish in us the saving plan of God. God wants us to be restored to the original righteousness and joy, so we can share in His divine life.
The way God does so is by providing us in Christ with all that we need in the heavenly places. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).
Knowing that we are incapable of this salivation by ourselves, God doesn’t leave us alone. He grants us the sanctifying grace to do so. Sanctifying grace is that provision, ushering in the rests of graceful moments in our spiritual journey. I love the one-liner definition of this grace by Matthias J. Scheeben in his book The Glories of Divine Grace. It is “the ray of divine beauty infused by God into the soul” (p.3).
This ray of divine beauty is your seal for salvation. God’s will is God’s action by providing you and me with all that we need for salvation. He provided all, not some, in Christ and through his body, the Church.
Remain in that grace and be a messenger of that grace for others too.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.