One of this morning’s Press cartoons reminded me of a moment of grace I experienced last weekend.
Tragically my moments of grace too often get ignored or quickly forgotten as other stuff overwhelms the moment of awareness of the presence and action of Jesus. Then there are the many more moments of grace that I’m just too busy or distracted to even notice in the first place.
As you know from an earlier post I spent last weekend leading a retreat in the Western Australian town of New Norcia. On the Sunday morning I arrived at the monastery church half an hour before Mass just as a priest was putting up a “confession here” sign. I usually take any chance for the sacrament and so followed him into the room and took a seat as his first customer.
After making my confession (you don’t need the details) I turned to him for some encouragement. He began by saying: “give thanks”. Then he continued, encouraging me to give thanks and praise to God for everything, absolutely everything, every struggle, every sin, every difficult person, every problem.
At one level I kind of understood what he was getting at, but was eager to hear him say more and he obliged.
He continued saying that when we give God thanks for a suffering, a struggle, a temptation or a sin we are opening the floodgates of God’s grace into the situation. If we simply ask for God’s help, we keep on holding the problem ourselves. We need to become open to God’s grace in the midst of the present circumstances, and a simple giving thanks or praising God for the problem or the person is the most effective way to do this.
You can see why this morning’s cartoon helped me to savour Sunday morning’s encounter of grace.