Thursday, June 06, 2013

Grace Abounds

When dealing with a life bereft with poisonous temptation, as though living in a foggy swamp of noxious fumes, let us not grow weary in prudent combat against despair and malady. This is our great boon. As St. Paul writes: "Where sin is, grace abounds all the more" (cf. Romans 5:20). So it is with us. Grace is not for those who are comfortable; it is for those who are afflicted, bereft, and in need. That is why "the last shall be first" (cf. Mark 10:31).

Grace abounds "all the more" because of need, not because we have earned anything! Our place is with the Lord, no matter if we are the Faithful Son or the Prodigal Son.

Remember this when worried about the appearances of others or oneself. It is better to seek after mercy for oneself or another than it is to be quicker to condemn than our Lord. To "settle on the way" (cf. Matthew 5:25) and, in haste, to return to Him is better than a thousand days of doubt before our Lord. Forgiveness is not first in the judgement but in the asking, and it is in the judgement that, faithful to this command to love one another, we may see not only the grace of Holy Communion in this age, though beset with persecution (cf. Mark 10:30) and temptation to despair, but also Union with him in the Eternal Life to come with Him in the next.

Let us not grow hasty in our understanding of this sublime gift of grace and Holy Communion, and let us not delay in making our holy confession of guilt before Him. Let us not deny His love or refuse to share it fully. This is our "sacrifice of praise" (cf. Psalm 50:23), that He might be glorified in His love for us. Take courage in His love.

"Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
- Psalm 50:14, 23

"O God, who provide gifts to be offered to your name
and count our oblation as signs
of our desire to serve you with devotion,
we ask of your mercy
that what you grant as the source of merit
may also help us to attain merit's reward.
Through Christ our Lord."
(Prayer over the Offerings, Tuesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time)

So much surrounds these words above, which came to me after a weekend at Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, "the First Week After Pentecost" (in older usage) or, in the more commonplace, the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time. The Responsorial Psalm of daily Mass that Tuesday was that of a frequently used phrase in the the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite, which speaks of vows and devotion. It is used at the end of the period of announcements and blessings (especially birthdays and wedding anniversaries). It speaks so beautifully to the wedding feast that is just then about to commence... that wedding feast where, so beautifully, grace abounds.

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