This is worth reading.
Father Geiermann mentions five properties of actual grace: necessity, gratuity, efficacy, universality, and inequality. He says that actual grace is necessary for four reasons:
First, “Man needs the light of grace to find the truth. Though he can learn many things in the natural order by persevering application, he needs the help of God to master all human science. ‘For the corruptible body is a load upon the soul, and the earthly habitation presseth down the mind that museth upon many things’ (Wis 9:15). In the supernatural order actual grace must enlighten man’s mind and prompt his will before he can accept the truths of divine revelation. ‘No man can come to Me,’ says the Saviour, ‘except the Father, who hath sent Me, draw him’ (Jn 6:44).”
Secondly, “Man needs actual grace to do good. It is true that in the natural order man can of himself do some good…
View original post 288 more words
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road.
Though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me.
And you will never leave me to face my struggles alone.
– Thomas Merton
A brother went to find Abba Serapion. According to his custom, the old man invited him to say a prayer. But the other, calling himself a sinner and unworthy of the monastic habit, did not obey. Next Abba Serapion wanted to wash his feet, but using the same words again, the visitor prevented him. Then Abba Serapion made him eat, and he began to eat with him. Then he admonished him saying, ‘My son, if you want to make progress stay in your cell and pay attention to yourself and your manual work; going out is not so profitable for you as remaining at home.’ When he heard these words the visitor was offended and his expression changed so much that the old man could not but notice it. So he said to him, ‘up to now you have called yourself a sinner and accused yourself of being unworthy to live, but when I admonished you lovingly, you were extremely put out. If you want to be humble, learn to bear generously what others unfairly inflict upon you and do not harbor empty words in your heart.’ Hearing this, the brother asked the old man s forgiveness and went away greatly edified.
——Saying of the Desert Fathers
These empty words and feelings are bitterness, anger, jealousy, strife, and others too numerous to mention. Abba Serapion calls on us to bear unfairness with generosity and grace. Society tells it very differently. If we are wronged we must get even, or at least make it right. People spend far too much time trying to sort out the unfairness of life, and precious little effort is given to generous forgiveness. With that generosity in our hearts, we can put away empty words, and replace them with words of grace and forgiveness. We, like the monk who visited Serapion, can rise up edified, and an edified man can accomplish much. All of us have times that we feel unworthy of that place we have been given in life, but God has a way of turning that feeling into elation. Look hard at the empty words that clutter your heart, and give some of them away to the generous grace of God.
Abba Serapion said, ‘When the soldiers of the emperor are standing at attention, they cannot look to the right or left; it is the same for the man who stands before God and looks towards him in fear at all times; he cannot then fear anything from the enemy.’
—-Sayings of the Desert
It is a most difficult challenge to simply look toward God in our busy and complicated world. The motive of the soldier to keep his eyes on his commander is varied. For some it is respect, others fear and still others, protection. Those are very good reasons to keep our eyes focused on our God and creator as well.
There’s an old hymn that put it this way:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
The wise old man is telling us that we must learn to keep our eyes, ears and hearts on God, and that is the best protection from the evil one. In doing so we live in the light of His grace.