I’m often distracted by what seems to be life’s “important questions.” Will Ukraine win the war? What government official got caught abusing power? Who won last night’s baseball game?
These tidbits of information jibber-jabber on 24-hour news and social media. They entertain our scattered minds. But over-focusing on them can fill us with anxiety. We get lost in a world we cannot understand, nor sometimes don’t want to.
What if we focused instead on the silly questions? Questions we don’t see on World News Tonight or Instagram. Questions that might have been answered in our youth but whose answers have long been forgotten in today’s information overload.
This week, how about we ask this silly question: What is God’s grace? How can we receive it?
I’ve scoured books, sought answers from spiritual men and women, and consulted creeds and catechisms. Here’s a summary of what these wise teachers say:
Grace is God’s unconditional love extended to all of us.
It’s amazing, because it plugs us into the Divine so we can live a joy-filled life.
Grace super-charges our lives with Divine Energy and Wisdom.
Grace includes these key parts:
God’s grace is often described as unmerited or undeserved favor. It means God extends love and kindness to people freely, despite their actions, achievements, or worthiness. It emphasizes that salvation or spiritual blessings cannot be earned through human efforts alone but are gifts from God.
Salvation and Redemption
God’s grace is closely associated with salvation and redemption. Through God’s grace, people are forgiven their sins and offered the opportunity for eternal life.
God’s grace provides divine help for individuals to live their True Self. It enables people to grow in faith, resist temptation, and pursue the good life of right living.
Unconditional Love and Mercy
God’s grace reflects the Creator’s boundless love and mercy toward humanity. It’s different than human justice, which is based on merit and deserved punishment. God’s grace offers forgiveness and compassion even when humans fall short or make mistakes.
God’s grace has the power to change people’s lives and bring about spiritual growth. It’s an ongoing process whereby individuals are gradually molded into the loving image of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.
What’s Street Level Grace?
Words. Words. And more words. But how can we understand grace in street level language? How can we apply the idea of grace to our daily lives?
Hoping the Creator would give me an image I could sink my heart into, I asked God for a metaphor to help me understand grace.
An image of divine electricity rose in my heartspace.
When we plug a lamp into an electric socket, we trust there’s an energy source connected to the plug behind the wall. With the flip of a switch, presto! Our lamps are magically charged with power to produce light so we can see.
Perhaps God’s grace is Divine Electricity. It’s power supercharges us with love and wisdom.
When we plug into God through prayer, meditation, time in nature, or retreats, and ask the Creator for real-time directions on how to live our lives, Divine Answers often arise.
When the Divine Electricity of God’s grace flows into us, we can turn on our heart lights, receive the answers as gift, and let grace shape and mold our lives.
Turn On Your Heart Light
I tried plugging into that street-level grace recently at the Abbey of Gethesemani retreat.
I asked God to help me move out of my negative attitudes of self-doubt and loathing. I asked for a deeper understanding of God’s unconditional love.
A sermon by one monk on the Intimacy of God became the Divine Answer.
“I thank you, God, for the wonder of my being,” the monk told us to pray like a mantra each day from Psalm 139. “Wonder is a feeling of surprise, mingled with admiration caused by something beautiful, unexpected or inexplicable,” the monk said. “Each of us is something beautiful created by God. Praise the Creator each day for the wonder of you.”
Those words are now on my iPhone as a screensaver. God’s grace brought me the words through the monk. The words fill me with divine help as I turn on my heart light letting grace flow within me.
What’s grace to you? How do you plug into it? When have you experienced grace? How does it transform your life?
Note to Readers
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about silly questions the world doesn’t ask but our hearts long to understand. I’ll include some bullet points from wise teachers as we struggle together to find answers.
Let me know if you have silly questions you ponder as we open our hearts to the gift of God’s Divine Answers. Stay tuned for next week’s silly question: Okay, God, how do we live in the world without being overwhelmed by it?
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