March 19, 2010

My Grace is Sufficient

Preaching on St. Joseph, Bernardine of Siena comes to us in the Office of Readings today:

There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever the divine favor chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit (omnia charismata donat) needed to fulfill the task at hand.

This is a beautiful and important teaching. Hearing something like it when I was in an early spiritual impasse helped me to shift my understanding and keep going. The teaching implies that the spiritual life is not about effort, but consent. We don't have to reach up and squeeze grace out of some stingy deity. All the graces we need are there; it is only our inability to let go and accept them that holds us back from sanctity.

I often mention this teaching to the couples I am preparing for marriage. They have been given each other as a special and unrepeatable vocation in the world. Unfortunately, it is a vocation without a high success rate. They need to believe that all the graces they need to succeed are there for them, if they only stay close to the God who delights to join them as one.

3 comments:

Bruce said...

Brother Charles, your comments about "consent" were very timely to me today. I am 53 years old and the vocations director of our diocese is coming to visit me next Monday. So maybe, with the help of St. Joseph, your advice, and the vocations director's help, pray that I may be able to glimpse the graces that are available.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Father for a well-timed post. I've been married going on 15 years now. We've thrived throughout the first ten years of our marriage. Then tragedy struck with the the loss of our son during my second trimester of pregnancy. That loss rocked the very foundation of our marriage and set into motion a downward spiral. You have no idea how much I needed to hear, "They need to believe that all the graces they need to succeed are there for them, if they only stay close to the God who delights to join them as one." Trying times indeed. Thank you for keeping me grounded.

Brother Charles said...

My prayers are with you today, anonymous. You have the deepest of human sorrows. May the One who promises to "wipe away tears from all faces" (Isaiah 25:8) be with you and your husband.