Grace to you!
You may have observed that Saint Paul has signature introductory greetings consistent in his writings, namely: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…." Today's reflection will sketch some thoughts on the spiritual significance of greetings with “grace and peace.”
According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, "Grace is the first good, because it is the source of all good things." Consider that creation itself is God's grace who, out of His gracious Will, chose to create us in His image and likeness. We are alive, breathing and continuing in our thirst for and discovery of what is true, good and beautiful because of the grace of God, not to talk of the grace of being configured in Christ, the grace of salvation.
So to be greeted with grace is to be proposed with the best gift ever. Remember, ultimately grace is a person, true life, the complete gift of divinity to us. Grace is Christ. Grace in us is Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col 1:27).
O how I love to be greeted by grace. How it’s God’s desire for us to be embraced by His grace. Being in the state of grace is witnessing heaven here on earth. It’s a wonderful gesture to wish anybody grace.
The second wish of Saint Paul is "peace." Again the angelic doctor's (Saint Thomas Aquinas) comment on peace is wonderful. He writes: "The last of all good things is peace, because it is the general goal of the mind. For, whichever way this word ‘peace’ is used, it is in the sense of a goal or end; in eternal glory, in government and in one’s manner of living, peace has the sense of ‘end’ ” (St Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on 2 Cor, ad loc.).
Have you ever pondered why we wish our deceased loved ones "rest in peace" or at Mass we say, "Go in peace?" As grace is our birth into new life, new life in God, peace is experienced in the end. Peace points to the end. We want to rest in peace. We want all our goals in life to result to peace. An end without peace is the most terrible.
Heralds of peace, whom the Lord Jesus called "peacemakers”, are blessed because they are rightly called children of God (Mt 5:9) whose coming is the peace of the nations and individuals.
One with God is indeed with peace. Just as the Lord grants grace, so does He grant peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27).
The Lord’s famous greeting to his disciples was "peace be with you." He who is Grace also brings peace to us. Hence to encounter Christ and remain in him is to be in grace. Abiding in this grace of sanctity guarantees peace of soul.
Saint Paul's greeting therefore is a masterpiece for all hellos.
I wish you, your family and loved ones, grace and peace. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday Week 10 A: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7; Matthew 5:1-22]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural 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.