THE great sculptor, Michelangelo, was at work on a slab of marble. A figure was gradually emerging.
“What are you doing, maestro?” asked his wealthy patron, after observing him for a while.
“I am freeing the angel in this block of stone,” replied Michelangelo.
The work of grace in us is God at work freeing us to become His vision for each one of us. Our nature, our life, our relationships and our choices are the rough stone out of which the “angel” in each of us is called to emerge as God’s beautiful work of art.
The Catholic Catechism says, “Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.”
God creates us moment by moment, and calls us to be His sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of Jesus. But always, and at all times, God respects our freedom. So grace is always a gift. We can choose to accept it. Each time we do, grace frees us more to be our true selves, to be whole.
Grace is often a surprise. We don’t earn it, or work hard to be entitled to it. It is simply there – in the loving welcome of home; the peace of a sunset; the unexpected phone call from a friend; in the simple sacredness of holy communion; in undeserved forgiveness; or a moment of shared laughter. God shares His life in the everydayness of our lives.
Grace is blessing, and healing. Like love it’s easier to describe than to define. But we know when it’s there.
It’s what moves us to pray for help in our troubles, and brings peace in our dark moments. It’s what we encounter in prayer, even when it doesn’t seem like much is happening.
A wonderful way to become aware of grace moving in our lives is to take a little time each evening to look back on the happenings of our day, unwinding it in the Lord’s presence.
Are there blessings? Give thanks. Are there dark moments? Ask for healing. Trust that the Lord can make sense of it all.
And above all, grace is found in the person of Jesus. Read his story in the Gospels. Spend time with him. Listen to what he says. Watch what he does. And be prepared to be surprised, blessed, healed and re-created!
By Margaret-Mary Flyn
Dicocesan Year of Grace co-ordinator