The Experience Of Grace
I tend to think, no one who has not experienced grace
or God can really be loving or moral. It is not until we finite
humans glimpse the infinite love of God spread out like an ocean
before us that we emotionally realize what love means. It is
only then we realize the depth and size of the love we have
been given and are called upon to have and share with others.
Spiritually ignorant and unenlightened people tend to
have no god or a small god and a small awareness of others.
They also have, it seems to me, a small and smug morality.
They do not seem to realize, because they have no glimpses
of grace in their lives, that life is supposed to be harmonious.
A great deal in the history of religion has been small
gods for small people. In this way God has been easily
debased and degraded into religion without transcendence,
mystery or spiritual challenge. Half way religion with
a half way morality for half way spiritual people.
How often have there been small souled peoples with
rigid creeds and selfishness behind the observances
of morality and faith? Many times, I think.
I suggest people with small gods never really know the
full mystery of the God they are representing. If they
knew God better, they might not represent Him so poorly.
But most of the history of love and morality is that
of a people caught in a Half Way Church. That is a church
with many virtues but not a church in which any, most or
all are converted by the experience of grace or a personal
experience of God.
Of all things I know from good church people, holy
people, saints and sacred studies of all religions,
one sure thing is this: God is a Spirit Personality
who may be known, not in His fullness because we are
too small to hold it, but we may enjoy glimpses
of His grace and favor.
We may not always have enough of the lightning
moments of grace revealing the real spiritual world
that is often lost or unseen in the secular storm of life.
But there are moments of grace. Parents have them,
lovers have them, married people have them, and
believers have them. Suddenly we see, we feel, we
know. We are illuminated by God who is Love.
For moments we are aware of God who is Love
perfecting love for others in us and Him (I John 2:5 )
I fail to see from logic how people who deny grace will
see grace, but God moves loftily on a plateau above our views
and logic. Yet what joy and happiness people miss as they
purposely blind themselves to insights into the real
nature of spirituality and love in the world. Grace,
the love of God moves around us, though we often do
not realize it. Cities confuse us. We miss the beat.
Do not from determination to be blind or obtuse to
feelings, set yourselves beyond the pale of thought
that is Christ. Reach out to Him. Open up to Him;
Allow the natural recognition of love and God in your hearts,
put there by God, to deepen your life.
Love from God if not everywhere, neither is nowhere. When you
see it, celebrate grace quietly in your heart. Why miss out
on so vital a part of living? Would you deny your skin the
pleasure of feeling? Why deny your heart the pleasure
of God? As the Catechism urges, “enjoy God forever.”
What good to anybody is a heart numb to God? The love
of God can show you the true dimensions of love.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.