Gift of Grace

You’re in the checkout line buying milk. You grab a couple sticks of gum from the impulsive-shelves on both sides of you. You place the items on the belt and ask the cashier for three quarts of grace. She asks, “Leaded or regular?” “Leaded, please.”

It has to be the Catholic Church’s greatest recognition. Grace. Defined by all the opposites you can imagine – silent but constantly talking to you, hidden but incubating within your soul.

Grace blesses. She blesses the three things of our lives; mind, body, and spirit. Her image can be a soft rain walking through the park holding hands with the one you love. Hairs are getting wet and it looks like tears from their eyes. But they’re not tears. A hard snowfall will have her protecting you, keeping you home for a needed rest.

She’s not a solution. She may not even know your concern, problem or joy. She’s definitely not a feeling as we so often think of her. That would reduce her divinity from which she came and returns. She is also mistaken for courage but that suggests strength. There’s no arm-wrestling with God’s gift. (I think God always has a way of winning, anyway.) She’s a blessed blessing with no beginning or limit. (Three quarts of her would barely get you to lunchtime!)

You ought to meet and introduce yourself to this gift living within yourself, a woman named Grace. This living and vibrant divine gift. It’s her pause during an argument that I like; regrettable words the instant they’re said. Hers is the moment before sleep that assures you that everything will be okay when everything seems screwed up. Watching your child take the risk of a swing – separating feet from the ground allowing the body’s momentum to take over. That release is living her name. Releasing ourselves from ourselves and giving a green light inside ourselves for others to be themselves. (I think that’s consuming at least four quarts of her!)

All of life’s gaps are filled by her. So, I guess there are no gaps in our lives – those broken curves, that lost path, that joy you felt for no good reason is her doing her divine job. That’s how we can say, “Hi, Mary – full of happiness, remorse, doubts, and fears – Blessed are you among…”

The mere gift of life has filled us all with her. All of us, regardless of religion. I believe she is God’s first gift. Jesus even needed her to give his life for us. And, the Holy Spirit gives us seven versions of herself. (Boy, she spreads herself thin!)

“A woman named Grace gracefully walked into the room and graced us with her presence before offering to God a graceful prayer of Grace.”

Five times in different ways in one sentence is the way she works. Fluid, yet potent.
You can’t buy what you already own. “No purchase necessary,” says those ads. The purchase price was paid, in full, by the name we hear so often in church. Keep the milk and return the gum. You already possess and cherish the woman gracefully named “Grace.”

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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