Everything is grace…
This quote by St. Therese of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun who died in 1897 at the age of twenty-four, is a spiritual source of inspiration to me. I want very much to believe, as she did, that everything that happens to us in life holds the potential to become a grace-filled experience.
Engagement with this concept is a spiritual practice. It’s challenging to imagine how everything in life can be a conduit for grace. Broken relationships, illness, the loss of a loved one, the loss of home and work…how can one possibly believe these experiences are imbued with grace.
The only way I can accept the concept that “Everything is grace…” is to take a step back from my life and envision the total landscape of the large and small moments I’ve experienced. If I focus on any particular moment or event of my life’s journey (especially the most difficult times) I can’t honestly say that I feel those instances were blessed with grace. However, when I look at the all encompassing picture of my life, like a quilt made of patches of experiences, I clearly see that the thread weaving all the disparate pieces together is Grace.
It is certainly grace that sustains the spirit when suffering must be endured. How else would we humans survive the devastations that life often hurls our way? Grace is also what fuels our encounters with joy and love, and grace abounds when we find meaningful work and we align with the passions of our hearts. Surely it is grace, God’s Love for us, that saves us from certain death…be it physical, spiritual, or emotional.
Some would say that the quote, “Everything is grace…,” is a saccharine and simply flippant statement. However, I’m grateful to the young nun, St.Therese, who also said, “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth…” and proceeded to die an early death at 24 and sometime later was named a Saint.
Her long ago statement reminds me to be grateful. To be grateful for not only the moments of joy and ease (and this is no easy task) but also the moments of challenge and despair. For in each and every moment of life, grace awaits our recognition as life’s miracle weaves each breath to the next and the next. The spiritual practice of recognizing grace with gratitude is the practice of sacred awareness and the work of the soul.
Where will you witness the blessing of grace today? Can you recall a time in your life that was “grace-filled?”