Grace can’t be earned, but it can be resisted. There are times when we prefer darkness to light, when revenge feels good and pleasure trumps virtue. Hating those who wound us comes easier and, at least in the short term, feels more satisfying than loving them. It gets easier and easier to remain in the shadows. The promises of Christ seem distant, as if they are for other people but not for me. We might stand in the light if we could see it, but our eyes have gone dark.
Lord, clear my vision and cleanse my heart so that I might remain in the light.
—Excerpted from 2016: A Book of Grace-Filled Days by Jessica Mesman Griffith
Kay, perhaps it would be good to look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church in order to understand the difference between gifts and graces. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord. These are different than natural talents people have, such as being good at tennis, etc. There are two kinds of grace, but if you look at the Catechism it will explain it better than I can. We can say no to God and lose His grace- His life within us- that is mortal sin. We can be strengthened and given grace when we receive the sacraments frequently and attend Mass. Especially when we receive the Eucharist (in a state of grace), we can ask God to give us graces…it is a very beautiful thing to do, to open our hearts to receiving Him and all His gifts.
Also, I think it is important to be aware that not all paths lead to God… Jesus tells us that He is the Way. He is the only way! Some paths that look really good can lead us away from God and turn into a kind of Relativism or New Age philosophy. This is where discernment of spirits can be very important. Keep praying for graces! The Lord will strengthen you.
I always get confused distinguishing between gifts and graces. What is the difference? Are they available to everyone? What follows is my belief about gifts and graces.
When we are born, we’re born with a set of “talents or gifts.” Perhaps it’s languages,or math, perhaps public speaking. As we grow, opportunities present where God wants you to use to learn to use these gifts. Grace,for me, is the strength,patience,wisdom,ability to apply your gifts for God. For the greater glory of God! For me, graces and gifts are available to all. Everyone can contribute to the Kingdom no matter their faith,no matter their religion(the only clarification I will put on this is that the religion and faith must be positive energy) All paths lead to God.
I find this very educational, because I never understood how I can obtain God’s grace. It took years and years of my life as a practicing Catholic to understand my faith with the help of the Jesuit priests in Palau. I learned that all men are born with natural graces. To obtain graces, I do so through prayer, bible readings and taking the Eucharistic sacraments including fulfilling the corporal works of mercy and spiritual works of mercy. Graces are god’s supernatural gifts granted to help us show God’s love and mercy to those we encounter. The easiest way I understood it was to follow God’s commandments, love God and love neighbor. Without becoming one with God in mind, heart, body and soul, we can never obtain our graces/supernatural gifts. One way to understand this is by seeing the life of Jesus in the bible. After Jesus was baptized, he was tempted by the devil and the next thing he did was perform his first miracle. As Catholics, we receive the sacraments of baptism, Holy Communion, and Confirmation, which initiates us with the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us to be one with God (to me: being able to perceive God’s will to live our purpose). Just like Peter and the apostles having questioned Jesus before He left this world. Jesus told them that He will send someone to help them (the Holy Spirit). With the Holy Spirit’s help, we are able to live in the light(be free of all pretenses, doubts, fears, hate,or evil) to obtain those graces. Light is often used as term as in being free of all that binds to evil (anything that separates us from God) or blinds from seeing ourselves as the children of God or God’s creation with a purpose in this world. Jessica says that “grace can’t be earned”. I believe we work hard to earn the graces from God, so in actually they can be earned. Lot of times we fall short with little things that resist graces. Little things in how we look at others, in what we say, in what we do or in what we should have done, but end up neglecting them. If they are evil(sloth, anger, lust, greed, arrogance, envy and pride)then that is being in the dark or resisting God’s graces. So yes, it may be a metaphor used to express the idea, but it probably is the way it is often said as it is from the bible. The only way to understand it is reflect on it to find out that it is more meaningful that way. Thanks for the sharing!
So I guess your saying if you work and live at night in the dark your not in Gods favor, but if you work and live in the day light your angelic. Not all darkness is evil and bad, and much evil and sin is done under the sun. So resistance goes on during the light and acceptance of God’s grace can happen in the dark. You know that ol’ snake does a lot of good on this earth, I guess what I’m saying is in these modern days using metaphors of old just misrepresents the message of old historical sayings. You know Jesus, who is the only one who knows the Father, and the Father ONLY knows the Son (Jesus) lived and existed in both the light and the dark. If your talking to theologians and philosophers, they understand your metaphors, but when talking to the folks in or out of the pew, darkness and light, grace (Amazing as it is) takes on a whole new meaning. Actually maybe your definition and phenomenon of GRACE needs a more gospel explanation.
Sorry, Will, but you do Jessica a disservice with your obtuse interpretation which belies the potency of figurative language. Naturally “darkness” and “light” do not denote an associated time of day, nor a state of brightness. If you allow yourself the open-mindedness for alternate explanations the text will reveal its inherent edification. Your response does, however, highlight the reason why Jesus spoke in parables.