Four Ways to Respond to the Gift of Grace

As you manage the usual busyness of your day—paying bills, making dinner, getting the oil changed in your car—consider this: At every hectic or mundane moment, you are invited to participate in the life of God.

This can seem almost too much to take in, but it’s true. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines grace as “a participation in the life of God.” Because God pours forth grace to each of us at every moment according to our needs and our situation in life, all through our day the Creator of the universe is freely inviting us to share his life. 

We know what it means to participate in the life of another. Married couples enter that state when, brimming with love, they commit to one another “for better or for worse.” Parents participate in the life of another when, filled with awe, they realize a new life is on the way. Family life is all about participating in the life of others; and at its best, it is full of grace.

The Catechism also says that grace is free and undeserved help. We cannot earn grace, but it is up to us to acknowledge and accept it.

Here are four ways to open your life to grace:

  1. Ask for what you need.

    In the prayer Jesus taught us, we ask for daily bread, forgiveness, and guidance on the way. You might ask for the grace to deal better with a difficult person at work. Or pray for the grace to be kinder when your child asks “why” for the umpteenth time. Don’t be afraid to ask.

  2. Ask with an open mind.

    Be willing to let go of your own agenda and say yes to the grace God offers. Don’t hand God your game plan and say, “Here are my ideas, and I’m counting on you to do your part.” Remember, “Thy (meaning God’s) will be done.”

  3. Watch for the ways God responds.

    Grace often arrives in surprising ways. Through prayer and being aware, you can learn to recognize God at work in your life. One of the surest signs of God’s grace: a feeling of gratitude and a desire to give to others.

  4. Pass it on!

    When we love one another, we pass on God’s life to others. Having been blessed, we can bless others in our family, at work, in our community. Having been forgiven, we can forgive others. Having been strengthened, we can share our strength. Grace is not meant to be hoarded and stored. It's meant to touch the lives of others.

When you move through your day buoyed by God’s grace, it can spill over into the lives of your spouse, your child, all those in whose lives you participate. Grace is truly the gift that keeps giving.

© 2017 Loyola Press. All rights reserved.

19 things you might consider giving up this Lent and beyond:

  • Fear: God is on my side. In Him I am more than a conqueror. (See Romans 98)
 
  • The need to please everyone: I can’t please everyone anyway. There is only one I need to strive to please.
 
  • Envy: I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
 
  • Impatience: God’s timing is the perfect timing.
 
  • Sense of entitlement: The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.
 
  • Bitterness and Resentment: The only person I am hurting by holding onto these is myself.
 
  • Blame: I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.
 
  • Gossip and Negativity: I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic and bring other people down.
 
  • Comparison:I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
 
  • Fear of failure: You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fall forward.
 
  • A spirit of poverty: Believe with God that there is always more than enough and never a lack.
 
  • Feelings of unworthiness: You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (see Psalm 139)
 
  • Doubt: Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize.
 
  • Self-pity: God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
 
  • Retirement: As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. That does not come to an end until the day we die.
 
  • Excuses: A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.
 
  • Lack of counsel: Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
 
  • Pride: Blessed are the humble.
 
  • Worry: God is in control and worrying will not help.
 
Monsignor Keith Derouen, Ponder These Things