But by the grace of God…
This quote has been heavy on my mind all week long, which is why I should not have been surprised to hear the sentiment uttered during today’s homily.
Earlier this week, scrolling through Facebook and other social media sites, I was faced with an awful image – of a brown haired boy, slightly older than my own son, struggling to gasp out what might have been his last breaths of air. The images out of Syria struck me to my core, and the ensuing military response from the Commander in Chief has left me keeping an ear to the ground a little more than usual.
But by the grace of God, I live in the country I do.
Today was Palm Sunday – a day in which we collectively remember and celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. By the end of the Gospel reading, the congregation is shouting “Crucify Him,” as we begin the official descent into the holiest, and bittersweet weeks, in all of Christianity – Holy Week. A week which had to take place, in order to fulfill Scripture, but a week which was still fraught with tears, emotion, and pain.
During the priest’s homily, he stated,
It is by the grace of God alone that we are able to grow in holiness.
The point the chaplain was making is that everything we are given – our lives, our futures, even our spirituality are given to us by the grace of God.
And then, after leaving Mass, I saw myself facing the news of the bombers in Egypt – killing Christians who were just celebrating the same Mass I had been celebrating …
I was again reminded,
But by the grace of God, I am able to celebrate my faith in the safety I do.
This past Friday, at the Stations of the Cross, my children were awful! My son kept crawling from one end of the chapel to the other – on all fours – bouncing between the Station where the priest, altar servers, and other children were at, and then back to our pew. My daughter was finding anything and everything in our pew to throw or eat. And, it culminated with my removing them from the chapel halfway through Stations. We went back … to the very, very back of the chapel … for the Mass offered after the Stations.
And, I was angry …
…at trying to do yet another family-friendly, failed chapel activity.
Later in the evening, during prayers – I recalled the soundless video from earlier in the week… with the brown haired, brown eyed little boy struggling to breathe what may have been his last.
So, today, while sitting in Mass, I kept that memory alive. I prayed for the people in Syria, and now in Egypt, and I prayed for our military – whose families are now a little more on edge than typical… whatever is typical after nearly two decades of deployments under our proverbial belts.
And, I had a little more patience with my children – who are merely small children.
By the grace of God, my family can worship in safety.
By the grace of God, I am able to look at this upcoming Holy Week, keeping Christ’s memory alive, and the purpose and reason for His Sacrifice – for my sins, and those of the whole world.
By the grace of God, I have been raised to believe, and do believe as an adult, in God, His Divine Son, and God’s love for our world.
It is by the grace of God I am able to take my fears and uncertainty for the future, and turn to Jesus’ divine image, and utter the words at the bottom of the picture – “Jesus, I trust in You.”
So, I am linking up with Rosie, for her My Sunday Best series this week to remind readers to take a moment to pause, and reflect, upon the graces of God – even in the midst of fear, uncertainty, kid-wrangling shenanigans. God’s grace extends to each of us, and every. single. one. of. us are tasked with choosing whether we are willing to open ourselves to His grace – to receiving His grace, and to recognizing and acknowledging them!
If you find yourself impatient, getting frustrated or angry this week, I encourage you to shift your perspective a bit – and, say a quick thank you to God that you and your family, by the grace of God, has put you where you sit.
It’s a good lesson to keep in mind…
as we approach Holy Week…
…and the weeks after!