Posts filed under: grace
I truly don’t feel like Jesus is right there during the Eucharist. When I feel Him really with me is during praise and worship, personal prayer time, and I see Him all the time in other people. Why do I need anything more than His grace and a personal relationship with Him? - Anonymous
This may sound really odd, but I don’t feel Jesus there either. I guess we’re in the same boat! That’s the really strange thing about the Eucharist. Somehow Jesus was okay with the fact that our senses just shut down around the Eucharist. We don’t see God, hear God, touch God, taste God… and yet it’s God there.
The key is that — as with all things that are authentically divine — our eyes don’t work. We have to trust the “eyes of faith.” And, as the traditional theological dictum goes, faith is “of things we hear,” not things we see. So we can’t count on our eyes, but we can count on what we are told and what is passed down to us… the Word.
Faith, not sight! That’s the only answer that you and I can hold onto. But we’re not clinging desperately… we’re actually anchored onto a rock more firm than any human certainty. God has said so!
So when you go to Adoration or go to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, ask him humbly for that grace to “see” more clearly with your eyes of faith and to discover his Presence. Because of that Presence, our lives can never be the same!
It’s great to hear that you’re able to have so much fervor and clarity of Jesus’ presence in personal prayer, etc. It’s truly a gift! It won’t always happen. A little bit on that here. But pray that the same thing start to happen more frequently with the Eucharist… it’s a great support for faith. But faith ultimately isn’t about what we feel… it’s about what we believe.
And if that’s the case, then that relationship — with a God who gives himself to you as food and drink — will be more personal than anything else we could ever have imagined! And that grace will be more tangible than anything else we could ever have imagined!
I love being Catholic. Every day just convinces me more that I don’t deserve this at all. It’s just way too much. God is good!
- Father Shane
Grace is indeed needed to turn a man into a saint; and he who doubts it does not know what a saint or a man is.— Pascal, Pensées, p. 508. (via hargaden)
In whatever state a soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer.— Saint Faustina Kowalska
Fr. I read somewhere recently that God doesn't listen to sinners. Do you think this is true?? I am in a state of sin right now, a sin I have been forgiven for many times before. While being forgiven is the greatest gift I have received, I don't have the strength to remain sinless. I repeat my sins. The weaker I get the more I sin. It's a vicious circle. And now I feel truly lost and alone, and my heart yearns for the Lord but I can't see or hear Him anymore. I just don't know what to do.... - Anonymous
Does God listen to sinners? Of course! But in a strange sort of way. Remember the parable of the Prodigal Son? When the ungrateful and sinful son returns to his Father with no excuse whatsoever, the Father hears the first part of his confession, but it’s almost as if he’s not listening! The son only gets through the first half of what he had been planning to tell the Father, because the Father is saying, “Quickly bring the finest robe…” to his servants. In other words, God is so eager to forgive that he’s only barely listening!
What the devil will do is the exact opposite of that… he talks and talks and talks and talks. He’ll keep on telling you that you’re useless, that there’s no possible way that you can please God, that you’re sinking deeper and deeper and that there’s no way out. Lies! All lies. Don’t believe him! The truth of the matter is in Psalm 23:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.
It’s true! When you are in your darkest moments, that’s when God is closest. So don’t let anyone tell you differently. The more often you can make it to Confession, the more Grace can build you back up and strengthen you to avoid sin, even if you find yourself falling back again. You may be “lost,” but you’re not “alone”!
Have you been able to discuss your situation privately with a priest? (In Confession is the best place to do it, since you know it’s under the seal of total secrecy.) Digging your way out of a habit of sin isn’t easy, but it’s always possible by God’s grace. You’re going to need to start by avoiding the opportunities and occasions in which that sin normally presents itself (a situation, a person in your life, a particular time/place). If the sin has become an addiction that’s controlling you (i.e., you’re really not free to say No to it), then you really need an anti-addiction strategy, which looks a little different (think in terms of AA or any twelve-step program or an accountability partner) than a normal spiritual plan.
You’re right… you don’t have the strength to remain sinless. (Gosh, I wish I did!) But God has Power to lift you up!
God bless you and count on my prayers for you tonight.
- Father Shane
It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that… . Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff. I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.— Bono
— Pope Benedict XVI (April 13, 2011)
Christian holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full. “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16). Now God has poured out his love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (cf. Rom 5:5); therefore the first and most necessary gift is charity, by which we love God above all things and our neighbour through love of him. But if charity, like a good seed, is to grow and fructify in the soul, each of the faithful must willingly hear the word of God and carry out his will with deeds, with the help of his grace. He must frequently receive the sacraments, chiefly the Eucharist, and take part in the holy liturgy; he must constantly apply himself to prayer, self-denial, active brotherly service and the exercise of all the virtues. […]
What is the essential? The essential means never leaving a Sunday without an encounter with the Risen Christ in the Eucharist; this is not an additional burden but is light for the whole week. It means never beginning and never ending a day without at least a brief contact with God. And, on the path of our life it means following the “signposts” that God has communicated to us in the Ten Commandments, interpreted with Christ, which are merely the explanation of what love is in specific situations. It seems to me that this is the true simplicity and greatness of a life of holiness: the encounter with the Risen One on Sunday; contact with God at the beginning and at the end of the day; following, in decisions, the “signposts” that God has communicated to us, which are but forms of charity.
— Bishop Curtis Guillory (Beaumont)
Our young people are pulled in two different directions which cause them a lot of tension and anxiety. On the one hand, there is a power that pulls them downwards – selfishness, falsehood, and evil. If they give in to this downward pull, then they are diminished, less human, and distanced from God. The opening of cyberspace has provided our young people with positive human interaction, as well as some very negative and dangerous connections. The availability of e-mail, the web, chat rooms, Facebook, YouTube, web cams, blogs, etc. has opened up avenues never before thought possible. With this technology, our youth can communicate with great ease, share emotions, access information that helps them in their education or employment. Unfortunately, cyberspace has a very dark side that can quickly lure an unsuspecting young person into sexually abusive relationships, dangerous circumstances, behavior and thinking that are far from Gospel values.
On the other hand, there is a greater power – the grace of the Holy Spirit – which pulls them upward – that is, toward God’s love which leads to a life of integrity, wholeness, generosity, peace, and joy. It is a choice our young people have to make at a younger age today, and hopefully, the life-giving values passed on to them will assist them in making the choice for God.
In whatever state a soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer.— St. Faustina (via gracebagnas)