On one occasion the great mystic,
prayer-warrior, penitent, as well as woman Doctor of the Church Saint Catherine
of Siena was granted a vision into the state of one soul imbued with
sanctifying grace. Upon contemplating the beauty of this one soul in God’s
grace she fell to her knees. Enthralled
and totally captivated by its beauty she thought it was God Himself!
GOD’S GRACE: THE GREATEST TREASURE ON
EARTH! Of all of the gifts that we can
receive on earth, as pilgrims travelling towards our eternal home which is
heaven, the grace of God is by far the greatest treasure. It is the pearl of infinite price!
WORLDLY AND SENSUAL. Whereas the worldly and sensual pursue
money, fame, power, and pleasure as their ultimate source of happiness (which
really is a lie and illusion), God’s true friends pursue ardently and
constantly to grow in grace. Another rather simple way to understand the life
of grace is simply this: friendship with God.
God desires ardently to be our Friend, the best of Friends; however, He
respects our time and freedom to accept Him as our best Friend!
BAPTISM. The life of grace all starts in the moment
that we receive the Sacrament of Baptism.
The graces that flow from Baptism are extraordinary, almost
mind-boggling—how good God really is!!!
Once the water is poured on the head and the words: “I baptize you
X_____________name, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit”, invisible but real miracles occur: an intimate relationship with the
Blessed Trinity, the infusion of the theological virtues, moral virtues, and
gifts of the Holy Spirit. Still of paramount
importance is the reality of GRACE that permeates and imbues the soul in the
moment of Baptism!
GRACE: GOD’S FRIENDSHIP. With the waters of Baptism we enter into a
deep and intimate friendship with the Triune God and we become partakers of His
divine nature—we become sons of God and
have as inheritance—if we persevere in grace—heaven forever! For that reason the saints teach us: grace is
the seed of eternal life.
GRACE IN OUR SOULS. Given that grace in our souls is the greatest
gift and presence, we should do all in our power to preserve grace, grow in
grace, so as to die in the state of grace. Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of
the Church and author of the classic Glories of Mary, states that the grace of
all graces is to die in the state of grace.
This should be our prayer every day for our souls, that of our loved one
as well as for the whole world. Indeed Jesus came as universal Savior—to save
the whole world through His Paschal mystery—His passion, death and Resurrection
from the dead!
THE TWO WORSE THINGS! The two worse things in the universe are the
following: 1) Committing a mortal sin (this indeed is terrible); 2) Worse still
is dying in the state of mortal sin; this, of course results in an eternal
separation from God for all eternity! May God save us from the reality of
mortal sin. Nonetheless, if we do have
the misfortune of falling into mortal sin, we should never give into despair.
On the contrary, we should have a limitless confidence in God’s infinite mercy
and have recourse to the wonderful Sacrament of God’s mercy that we call
CONFESSION! The Psalmist reminds us
with these encouraging words: “God is slow to anger and rich in kindness.”
Saint Paul reiterates the same theme: “Where
sin abounds, the grace of God abounds all the more.”
WAYS TO GROW ON THE GRACE OF GOD IN
OUR DAILY LIVES
We should do all in our power to
preserve God’s grace in our souls, but also to grow daily in God’s grace. God’s grace and His intimate Friendship in
our soul are worth more than the whole created universe. The natural realm in which we live can never
be compared to the supernatural realm in which we find the concept and reality
of grace. As a fish swims in water, as a bird flies in the sky so should we be
swimming and flying in the atmosphere of grace! This should be the most ardent
desire of our hearts, mind and souls!
PRAYER. Every time we pray with humility of heart,
purity of intention and a desire to please God we immediately grow in
grace. For that reason we should
treasure prayer, our prayer life and the prayer life of others as the highest
and greatest of all realities. Parents who
teach their children to pray are the best of parents; parents who are slothful
and negligent in the education of their children in the arena of prayer will
have to give an account on the day of their judgment! Because of the numerous
distractions of daily life, how easy it is for parents—who must be the first
educators of their children—to be negligent and sloppy in teaching their
children to pray! May God have mercy on us!
CHARITY. The Word of God teaches us this consoling
truth: “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
If we can find ways and opportunities that God offers us on a daily basis to
practice charity and service or even alms-giving towards others then we have
another means to augment grace in our souls. In the movie LITTLE BOY, the little boy was given what the priest called the “Magic
list” to accomplish so that his father would return home safe and sound from
the World War. The magic list is nothing more than less than the corporal works
of mercy listed in (Mt. 25:31-46) “ I was hungry and you gave me to eat;
thirsty and you gave me to drink; a foreigner and you welcomed me; sick and in
prison and you came to visit me; dead and you provided burial…” Beg the Holy
Spirit in prayer which of these He is calling you to carry out in practice in
your life so as to increase grace in your soul!
PENANCE. Jesus stated that some devils can be cast out
only through prayer and fasting. The
Lord also reminds us: “Anyone who wants to be my follower must renounce
himself, take up his cross and follow me.”
Every time we say “no” to our selfish desires and “yes” to a sacrifice
that the Holy Spirit has inspired in our hearts then once again the grace of
God rises in our hearts! An added blessing from God when we undertake a life of
sacrifice is conquering our bad habits and interior peace of mind, heart and
soul! Let us be generous with a God who
loves us so much!
SACRAMENTS: THE EUCHARIST! Of course
the greatest action in the whole universe is that of receiving the greatest of
all Sacraments—The Eucharist! The Holy Eucharist,
Holy Communion, is truly and substantially the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Receiving Our Lord with the best of
dispositions, in grace, with faith, love, humility and desire for a deeper
conversion to His love is an infinite source of grace because this Sacrament is
God Himself! For this reason there is no greater action we can do as pilgrims
and wayfarers on earth than to receive Jesus with lively faith, frequency and
burning love! If you like a simple image, upon receiving Jesus with burning
love the gas gauge in your spiritual tank (your soul) shoots up way beyond the
FULL!!! Beg for the grace to have a daily hunger for the Bread of life so as to
constantly skyrocket in grace—to penetrate the high heavens even while on
earth! In the Our Father we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread…” Perhaps
Jesus is challenging you to aim at daily Mass and daily Holy Communion so as to
surmount the highest mountains in the realm of grace!
OUR LADY: THE HAIL MARY. On one
occasion the German mystic and saint, Saint Gertrude saw Jesus in heaven. He was resplendent in glory, but He was doing
an intriguing gesture: placing a golden coin on top of a huge mound of other
gold coins. The saint was just finishing praying to our Lady the Hail Mary.
Jesus responded in this manner. “Gertrude, every time you pray to my mother the
HAIL MARY with faith and devotion, I am depositing a Golden coin in heaven that
will be yours for all eternity.” If we
want to be multi-billionaires in heaven let us love Mary and the prayer that
Mary loves so much-- the HAIL MARY. In
the Hail Mary we greet the Queen of Heaven and earth with these beautiful
words: “Hail Mary FULL OF GRACE… Therefore, let us get into the habit of
praying the daily Rosary, with the beautiful prayer HAIL MARY. If done, Our Lady, through her powerful
intercession will be storing up for you infinite treasures and an eternal home
in heaven! May we love grace, treasure grace, strive to grow in grace and
finally die in grace through the intercession of Mary, the “Full of grace.”