Reflecting on the Grace of God … In My Sunday Best

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 them…

…at myself…

…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.”

img_2063So, 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!

img_6364If 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.

St. Teresa of Avila quote with a couple

It’s a good lesson to keep in mind…

as we approach Holy Week…

…and the weeks after!

16 thoughts on “Reflecting on the Grace of God … In My Sunday Best

  1. I like your Sunday best, Anni, and I thought your post was very thought provoking. I, too, have my ear to the ground a bit more than usual.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you found this thought-provoking. The thoughts have been weighing heavily throughout the week, and I am glad they finally came out in a way that made sense!

  2. I’m tearing up a bit at this. By the grace of God, I’m where I am. Even if that means crying screaming kids, a messy house, and a bit of sunburn today! I love how you put everything into perspective. Sometimes, I hesitate to say my good things are “blessings” from God… because I’m afraid that may imply that somebody who doesn’t have the things that I have is “not blessed” by God. So my first thought would not actually be to say that “by the grace of God” I live in a peaceful country and am free to worship the way I want, because I’m afraid to imply that others who live under persecution in war-torn places are not “graced by God.”

    So thank you for saying the things that I’m afraid to say. Because I shouldn’t deny God’s graces and blessings, just because they look different from the graces and blessings God has given someone else. Where I have a peaceful country, they might have the peace of sanctifying grace in their souls. My blessings may be physical, and somebody else’s may be more spiritual. It does no good for me to compare, and then fail to acknowledge what God has given me.

    After all, he’s given me everything, even my very life. Even HIS own life, in atonement for my sins. This is the great gift He’s given to all, and what are my material blessings compared to that?!

    Beautiful article!

    1. Thank you so much!

      Our chaplain did mention similar sentiments – that “by the grace of God,” all of us, everywhere, have been given whatever our lot in life is… some may be earning their sanctification through their life experiences.

      He also emphasized at the end of Mass – where his announcements would typically be – a similar point – that, even if we have struggles, it doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us. No matter what our struggles, it isn’t because God is punishing us, or because we didn’t do “Catholic the best,” or because we did anything at all. Instead, He gives us what we need to turn to Him – and, it’s our challenge to recognize that, and to turn to Him.

      Overall, he gave great thoughts to lead into this week. And, it cemented my thoughts for today.

      Thanks for commenting, and I’m glad it touched you!

  3. Oh thank you for this – I can always, always use the reminder to count it all as grace and to shift my perspective. Definitely good food for thought this Holy Week.

    1. I am so glad you appreciated the reminder – I know I need to often remind myself of perspective and to shift accordingly, too!

  4. ❤ Beautifuly written as always! Syria is definitely weighing heavy on my heart as is Egypt. Each difficult moment is an opportunity to walk this life with Christ. Thank you for this reminder of how blessed we truly are simply for the breath we take each second

    1. Thank you!

      I once spoke with a priest about my role in the world – I told him if I were single and didn’t have to worry about bills, I would love to be a missionary and love to be out in the world. But, my obligation is to my family, and we are living on a single income. And, unfortunately, I also can’t be a hermit!

      The priest wisely reminded me my obligation is first to my husband and children, and then said, “So, what you do right now is pray… pray for the world, for our country, and for those around you, and know it is okay to ‘only’ be in a position to pray.” Three years later, I am recalling that instruction a little more frequently it seems!

      So, I am praying – and, reminding myself how grateful I should be to have the “first-world problems” of a kid (or two) acting up in public! 😉

  5. Once again you hit the heart of the matter. We are so blessed, and we don’t even know it. Or if we do, we don’t think about it. Thanks for the reminder. I needed it.

    1. Thank you! I am so glad this touched you… and, gave you a reminder. I was grateful the words came out coherently… I battled with getting the words into cohesive statements throughout the week!

  6. I like your outfit, and your thoughts. The “grace of God” moment usually comes to me when I see a panhandler while I’m sitting in traffic. I’m never really thinking about whether giving snacks or clothing is better than cash, whether they’re “really homeless,” or whether panhandling should be illegal. I’m thinking that no one ever really wants to beg for money. If my life had been different in maybe just one way, if I had just one blessing fewer, I might be on that same street corner.

    1. Yes! I am so glad to hear I am not the only person who has those thoughts. And, thanks for the compliment on the outfit… it’s definitely a favorite when weather is favorable!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.