There but for the Grace of God go I.

by | Oct 28, 2020 | Presence

Photo by hejaar-from

One day, just as I was walking out the door of my home to go to mass, I received a text from my friend excited for a job interview tomorrow night. She is a young mom with 5 kids.

As I walked out the door of the church after mass, I walked into a woman named Felicia who has lost her job. She is a young mom with 4 kids, the oldest girl about the same age as my friend’s.

Coincidence? I think not, and I asked my friend to pray for Felicia. What better way could there be to prepare for a job interview than to pray for someone who just lost theirs?

Was Felicia ‘legit’ or a scammer? I don’t know; God knows. The proper question is: am I legit? Do I have sincere compassion for others, even those who are scammers?

When I lived in Phoenix some years back (and before crowdfunding online), it was common for people to fundraise by washing cars.  The store manager would give permission to use their parking lot. Most often these were youth-related groups. Occasionally, it would be an impoverished family. The last one I saw before moving was a dad with 3 young children washing cars to raise money to bury his wife who had died the previous week. “When would they get to mourn?”, I wondered. How important it was to them that she receive a proper burial. It isn’t right for this to be necessary; yet God used it to showcase their Faith which He had gifted to them. It was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking to see.

“My Faith helps keep me on the right path, and when one feels God is far away, one should always question who moved” (Dr. Farouk Habra RIP)

There but for the Grace of God go I. This is an old saying from my childhood that our American culture lost long ago. Perhaps it is time to bring these sayings back, as they situate us within our spiritual reality. Do we go through our day recognizing the Sacred among us? At the same time as receiving the text before mass, another friend texted the link to a letter written by her deceased father. Beautiful beyond words. Perhaps we should see our day through a similar lens?

If we each made a renewed effort to go through the day recognizing God who is already present to us, how might the world change?

 “See here, the camel disencumbered of his hunch passes through the eye of a needle” (St. Bede)

Our scriptures often remind us how difficult it will be to enter the Kingdom of God. Bristle. Why does God make it so hard? Again, wrong question. It isn’t God who makes it hard; it’s us. Since He leaves it up to our free will to love Him, in that respect we are self-selecting. We step into the ‘line’ of souls marching towards God and just as quickly step out-of-line chasing things that attract and gratify us. This includes our own thinking; attachment to ‘ourselves’. How many examples and teachings must Jesus us give us to demonstrate this? Rather than thinking God makes it hard to get to Heaven, we should realize how hard He is always working to bring us there in this very moment through love of Him. It is that simple; we must Love Him, and then Love others as He has Loved us—unconditionally. Hmm, well admittedly that part is hard.

I choose with my free will to go through my day looking at God looking at me, permitting Him to show me the sacred around me. I much prefer His perspective. 😊

Honestly, to have the eyes to see I must give up my way of viewing life. I am not that attached to the world, but I am unfortunately quite attached to ‘me’. Questions I ask myself are:

  • When have I desired for my own glory instead of yours, God?
  • Has my logic or knowledge been my sword and my shield?
  • Do my thought, words and actions pass the “Love test” given to me by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 13)?
  • Did I take your gifts and make them my own?
  • Did I ask you and Mary for help? Do I even recognize I need it?
  • Did I ask you for love for the other person? Did you give me love that I let seep away?

Needless to say, a sizeable confession list easily comes out of this! It makes me thankful for the sacramental gifts given to me personally by God to help me stay in His line. Let’s continue to pray for Pope Francis, our clergy and religious, and the worldwide church.

Protect us, Lord, as we are awake; 

Watch over us as we sleep.

For awake we keep watch with Christ,

And asleep rest in His peace. Alleluia.

(Night prayer, Mundelein Psalter)

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊