Grace to you!
We continue our Advent reflections this year centered on grace.
As I said a couple of days ago, Advent ushers in the celebration of what God has already done for us in sending the Son to us. It’s what we remember in a unique way at Christmas. Advent equally equips us, who are already in the year of the Lord, to prepare for the Lord’s Second Coming. These two characters of Advent are grace-filling and grace-inspired.
Being part of the fulfillment of God’s promise is a privilege. It’s grace.
Many times, we seem not to appreciate the enormity of God’s grace and what it means for us. Consider that, as humans, with our limitations and little minds, we never can fathom the immensity and transcendence of God. God draws us in, revealing God’s self to us.
That knowledge of God, which could be described as love-knowledge, God’s gift of the special way of knowing, through which we are drawn into the intimacy of divine love and life, isn’t possible by our unaided human abilities. It’s grace.
The 14th century Dominican mystic, Saint Catherine of Sienna, writing about the depth of God’s unfathomability, suggests it’s as deep as the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. God’s depth can’t be grasped.
But for grace, we are led into that depth as much as our capacity as humans can hold.
Grace is God holding us by the hand and walking us through, into the intimacy of his love and his life. It’s God feeding us as his children with the delicious meal of sanctifying favor (sanctifying grace, as the Church calls it—I shall explain this in later reflections). Grace is also God seeing us become participants in his life of joy, beauty, truth and goodness.
Like a mom, gazing on the beautiful face of the child and smiling as the child matures, God delights too, permit me to say, when we drink from the fount of his love and life.
Read how the words of our Savior in Luke 10:21-24 describe that joy. I will quote verse 21 here: “In that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants; Yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
The Greek word used to describe how Jesus felt, his joy, is ἠγαλλιάσατο (pronounced egalliasato) – which has a sense of someone who is greatly excited. It’s sort of being full of exultation and joy for seeing our children win.
Visualize yourself going to watch your child in kindergarten or high school, or even college, play his or her first baseball game for the school. You mentored your baby girl (boy) and now is the time to see the child play. Imagine the kind of excitement you will have if your child hits the home run that decided the game. It could give us an inkling into the Joy of the Lord when his grace has found a home in hearts like ours.
On this Day 3 of Advent, it may aid our spiritual journey through this season by stepping back a little bit, and reflecting on the fact that Jesus rejoiced because we received the grace of faith. “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.” Thinking about that joy of grace is refreshing.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
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.