Grace

This section of the website will be regularly updated to include a range of resources to assist people in learning more about grace and the gift of God's grace in their lives. It will be expanded to include reflections, articles and book titles.

Pastoral Theology seeks to uncover and name grace that is at work in the daily lives of all people. Faith seeking understanding is the beginning of grace at work. It comes into full play when this faith is expressed in action. Pastoral theology recognises grace in the actions of social justice by young people. It names this grace in the care offered freely to those we empathise with. It acknowledges the grace found in the elderly who can appreciate life's gifts and gently pass their wisdom on. It uncovers grace that blesses those in their painful moments of suffering and darkest hours. It announces grace to those grieving, awakening hope of eternal life. Grace comes disguised in our acts of faith, hope and love, which are recognised through the eyes of faith seeking a greater understanding of God.

Margaret Ghosn mshf

a hand matches
a thing, the fire

past quickening
burns steady and
deep. A possum
walks a telephone

wire at the first
fall of night.
Above a flowering
eucalypt the moon

rises cool
and full. The drive is
littered with gumnuts.
A short cry

and a mouth finds
a breast. Morning.
At the turn
of a path, her legs

hidden in the creek,
an egret: curved
to her intent, she
bends into dark

water. When she flies
she hangs her form
on the immense
finitude of the sky.

Anne Elvey 2011

 

The light is swift and still
that leaps from the sun
and grasps the day, bound
to us by the air's embrace

and the slow grace of things
that hold themselves, as stencils
to the light, and stand forward
risking present! as you

with evident fondness call,
or so it seems, when conversation
turns to what you love.
And driving west one early

evening when the sun hangs
a quarter from the rim,
the softest light calls forth
the clearest lines and things are

what they are: a burst of dancers
holding mirrors to the sky;
a knot of players with their backs
to the sun; the bare brick

where I have scrawled your
name; the aerosol dropped
empty by the wall washed
white by day; all the fierce

binding severance of here!

Anne Elvey

The word "grace" itself does not feature extensively in the wisdom literature. "Mercy" is more commonly used to express God's grace. However, a rich symbolism of grace is present. In the book of Proverbs, the Wisdom Woman stretches out her hand to humankind, pleading with them to heed her ways and act with loyalty and faithfulness. Those who do so find favour (chen) with God. Chapter Three of Proverbs describes God's favour in terms of an abundance of grain and wine, and those who follow the ways of wisdom find gifts more precious than silver and gold. An overarching symbol for wisdom and her fruits is the tree of life (3:18,11:30, 13:12, 15:4). Whoever finds wisdom finds life and experiences God's favour (3:4).

Veronica Lawson rsm

1.
What is grace, you might well ask, especially in this Year of Grace. But actually grace is not about something; it is not like a divine drug that is injected into us or a heavenly blood transfusion. Rather it is about Someone. That Someone is the living loving God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Grace is God dwelling in us, and we, in the process, growing ever more God-like in our understanding, in our love and compassion for each other and for the world. For, as St Athanasius, the great defender of our faith in Jesus as Lord and God, reminded us "He was made man that we might be made God."

Experience of Grace

In our everyday knowing of things, of events, of people, there can be an awareness of what stretches far beyond us. Our minds are never satisfied. They open out towards mystery. In this sense, mystery is not simply something we cannot comprehend. It is more the experience of the inexhaustible depths of reality.

'Blessed are those who mourn: they shall be comforted'

Is there any time when the Church is not experiencing stress, tension and division? I don't think so. Today we are certainly in a time of tension. From all points of the compass divergent opinions are being uttered about the way the church is heading and about what we need to do about it. We have people like an eminent theologian who recently stated that many of the Bishops of the Second Vatican Council and particularly the theologians who advised them had succumbed too readily to 'modernity'. They believe that something has been lost and that the healthy tradition of the church to a smaller or greater extent has been abandoned. We need to restore some of our previous ways of thinking and behaving. On the other hand many others who were excited by the vision of Vatican II believe their expectations have been dashed. Their hearts are touched with disappointment, sadness and even despair. They experience an impulse to walk away from the community they loved so much. Being human all of us who take up a stance along this spectrum are affected by various emotions and movements of the spirit. They can be anger, fear, anxiety, frustration or an inclination to act decisively to implement our plans and vision. I am sure one such emotion in all, or at least many, of us is grief. We can experience a profound mourning in our hearts, if only we are brave enough to acknowledge it and enter into it.

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The Greek word charis is usually translated in the New Testament as grace, graciousness or favour. The word is important for setting the scene in the early chapters of the Gospel of Luke. We are introduced to Mary as one who has found favour with God (1:30). Her child, Jesus, is portrayed as growing in wisdom and as also having God's grace or favour upon him (2:40, 52). At the beginning of his public ministry in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus enters the synagogue, reads from the scroll of Isaiah, and announces that his ministry will fulfil the words of the prophet, bringing good news to the poor and release to the oppressed (4:16-21). All are amazed at the words of grace that came from his mouth (4:22). As the Gospel progresses, we learn that these words of grace do indeed describe his ministry.

Veronica Lawson rsm

The Church’ is Christians together, the community of the followers of Jesus. So James Joyce famously called it ‘Here comes everybody!’ Christians like us are limited, limited by our humanity, our faults, our weaknesses, and our sins. So much so that Vatican II teaches that the Church is always in need of reform, renewal, and interior conversion. (Decree on Ecumenism #6 & #7).

As a chaplain with the RAAF I recently found myself in Afghanistan on a short-term deployment. Upon arrival I discovered this to be a rugged and harsh land, very grey and dusty. During my time there I looked for moments of God's presence, moments of grace. There is a book by Gerard Hughes called "God of Surprises" and I was certainly surprised at where I discovered God in this land.

In this Year of Grace I would like to share the following moments of grace.



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