Gracefully Graceful

ImageYou wonder where it comes from during trying times but it arrives, just in the nick of time.  Reflecting upon it later, you consider whether it might have been God’s grace.  What a great help to help us explain the good deeds done by us sinful people.

And it’s not only a noun but a proper noun.  It’s also an adjective and even more it’s a verb and an adverb.  What a flexible word, this grace stuff.  “Grace Kelly graced us with her effortless grace and graceful presence as she gracefully walked into the room to say Grace.”  (Wow.  There’s grace all over the place.  It’s active and moving.  No, it’s that person’s name.  No, it’s how she’s doing it.  No, it’s over there, somewhere.)  It is rich in worth, effortless in its attempts and limitless in its quantity.

Alas, the Catholic Church needs to rein in this wild grace stuff and present it as a commodity.  There are actually two form of grace, (in my Churchy voice) according to the one, true Church.  Sanctifying and actual.  Most Catholics can name those two graces, even on their deathbeds.  What they may not know is that sanctifying grace is that which is derived by the sacraments.  When you participate in a sacrament you receive this elusive, rewarding, beautiful proper noun, noun, adverb and verb.  Actual grace appears to appear when you need it the most.  We cannot determine graces travel time to us but we know that it is within us within nick’s time.

Just when you were about to say something questionable, grace zooms in from some unknown place and softens the tongue.  (I have yet to receive grace’s reward during those occasions.)  Another sibling has past away and you discover a peace that even amazes and baffles you.  A serious discussion wears you out.  You’ve said your peace and now quietly listen.  A story is told to you for the third time and your newly found grace enables you to listen again knowing there will someday be a fourth time.  A serious diagnosis strips you of hope but slowly and surely that noun/verb creeps into every part of your being.  A smile replaces a frown.  The handshake is forgotten and a hug is provided.  “If there’s anything I can do for you,” comes out of your mouth when there is nothing you can do.

Grace.  It’s a beautiful name.  It’s an even better verb when it travels by light speed to become, within us, a noun.  Our lives are truly graced.  We can be grace to each other.  Mary was full of it, so why can’t we be?  There is grace, in plentiful supply, thanks be to God.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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