Stepping into the World of Grace

“When our prayer is constantly “Thank you,” and we know we deserve nothing, and that everything is a gift, we stop counting. Only when we stop counting and figuring out what we deserve, will we move from the world of merit into the wonderful world of grace. And in the world of grace, everything is free.” Richard Rohr

So often Richard Rohr seems to be reading my mind! These words reverberated in my heart and soul because I remembered that when I was a child Christmas and birthdays were all about gifts. Did Santa, and later, Mom and Dad, give me everything I wanted? Was I given as many gifts as my sister had received? Was I really thankful or did I utter those words mechanically? My underlying belief was that if I had been good and obedient, I deserved all this.

Hopefully, most of us grow up and grow out of this mindset, but perhaps vestiges of it remain. I have come to recognize that in my relationship with God I still do a fair amount of counting and measuring, a fair amount of believing that God owes me grace for my efforts. And if I can earn grace, then I’m in charge. God is not really my Savior.

Perhaps some of us are slower than others to let go of this notion because it offers a certain degree of certainty. As long as I do what I’ve been taught to do, God must reward me with heaven. Perhaps the alternative view is scary since God is in control, not I. Perhaps I’m more comfortable in the world of merit because it “makes sense” whereas if I live in the world of grace I need to trust. I need to trust Someone other than myself.

If I can let go of my control, the world of grace offers a breathlessly beautiful way to live. Grace bestowed freely upon me by God opens my heart wide. As my response of gratitude spills forth, I find that every moment leads to wonder and every encounter into a meeting with God.

Sister Virginia DeVinne