Saturday, January 28, 2012

Full Of Grace

"Hail, Mary, full of grace!".....

And she was and is full of grace, because Mary's whole life was an affirmation of God- who he is and what he was doing in her life. Her very being, her soul, "proclaim(ed) the greatness of the Lord." (Luke 1:46)

When we strive to be God-filled rather than self-filled we, like Mary,  affirm the 'greatness' of God and allow his grace into our lives.

I recently read a passage written by Father Joseph Payne, which expresses this thought so clearly:

We are good and lovely and dedicated because God has loved us and we have had the grace to respond to that love. We spend our lives responding to love, living "in answer" to a greater love that calls to us.

Everything, then, is grace. Everything is a gift. To the extent that we recognize and celebrate God's gracious love will we be able to respond to God's call  and to be gracious both to ourselves and to our neighbors, the other friends of Jesus.

When we fail to celebrate grace and graciousness, we become tough. The pressures of life make us tough with ourselves, and we become tough with each other. Look around you at those who are hard on other people and you will find those who are hard on other people are hard on themselves. When we fail to celebrate grace and graciousness, we become distant- distant from ourselves , distant from God and distant from our neighbor. Look around you at those who are aloof and you will find people who are in some real way aloof from themselves.

In the incarnation, the mystery of God's love became flesh. That love became tangible and visible and believable in Jesus, who came to put an end to all distance.We who believe in Jesus, then, must put an end to all distance. We want to be present the way Jesus was, attuned to people as he was, and fully present to God after his example. We want to stop 'postponing our presence,' stop delaying being fully there with God, with self, with neighbor.

...Jesus did not live a 'muffled' presence-the car muffler silences the sound of its exhaust system. Jesus did not live a 'muted' presence-the mute softens the brilliance of the trumpet. We who follow Jesus dare not live the message of love in muffled and muted fashion. If Jesus was really present, we who believe in Jesus must be really present, or the gospel will be sung by us only in hushed tones.

We must not live in "hushed tones," then.  We must live boldly in the fullness and truth of God's magnificence, proclaiming his love and living in the light of his beautiful grace.