Friday, March 06, 2009

Did You Pray For Grace?

Reflection from Word Among Us Lent 2009 Issue
As we are praying for healing, we also face a crucial question: If I am meant to embrace this cross, will I do it out of a “noble” position of faith or through an “empowered” position of faith? There is an important distinction here: A “noble” person who accepts a cross does so with good intentions, trying his or her best not to complain or give in to self-pity. While this is the right way to embrace the cross, if it is done solely out of our own noble intentions and human strength, there will likely be some degree of discouragement, anger, or self-blame attached. After all, some crosses are downright heavy, and their burdens are just too painful to bear on our own.

This is where the “empowered” position of faith comes in. God wants to give us his own divine grace to help us embrace the crosses of life. Jesus once told St. Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” These words so moved Paul that he was able to write: “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong” ?(2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Embracing a cross with the help of God’s grace is quite different from nobly trying our best to accept a cross without grace. Those who embrace a cross through grace find themselves depending on God more and more each day. They find reserves of strength, trust, and surrender that they know are not their own but that come from a loving, merciful God. Rather than dwell on their own sufferings, they find themselves moved with compassion for other people, even as they themselves endure pain and difficulty. In short, they become more and more like Jesus.

This is the paradox of the cross: We accept suffering not because it is good and not because we like it but as part of our vocation as followers of Jesus Christ. These crosses can become opportunities for us to grow closer to Jesus and give him glory.
Saw this on my friend's blog and realised that it put across very nicely a point that I forgot to write down in the previous post due to the exciting discovery of the auntie walking through "walls".

The last two lines of the first paragraph sum up the feeling that I had when I attempted to keep my resolutions by my own strength and effort. Other than the realisation that these resolutions were to bring me closer to God. I also realised not to see my resolutions as means to reach an end, but as processes that I need God's graces to help me carry out to deepen my relationship with Him.

It brought to mind the question that my SD for my 8-day silent retreat kept asking me everyday. "Did you pray for Grace?"

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