Amazing Grace - "Lent" - The Season of Grace
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.
John Newton’s song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDdvReNKKuk) has influenced the world a
great deal since he first composed it. It was, in fact, his personal story and confession.
"Amazing grace, that saved the wretch like me" Yes! God’s grace is amazing that saves everyone,
enables everyone to grow in holiness, enlightens every soul to remain in the state of grace to
inherit the eternal kingdom and it increases in those who seek God opening every person to become saints.
Amazing grace, I was lost but I am found; am I not the one sheep that was lost and my God came
in search of me leaving the 99 in the wilderness? He found me, put me on his shoulder, and took me back.
I am precious in the eyes of my Beloved God, He gives me the best always, especially during this season
of Lent, yearning for me to come back to Him, to enjoy His grace, to remain in His grace and to grow in His grace.
Lent is a season of grace, 40 days of fasting, penance and abstinence helps us to open ourselves up to God’s
unconditional love and grace. What is grace? "Grace is a free gift from God to man. There is nothing man can do
to merit grace because it is a gift." God gives it to each of his adopted sons and daughters, no one can deny it,
because it is a free gift. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) tells us: "Grace is a participation in the life of God.
It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ,
the head of His Body. As an "adopted son," he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son.
He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and forms the Church" (CCC n. 1997). Grace is a favor,
the seed of eternal life. That grace in our souls is the greatest gift and presence; we need to do all in our power to
preserve its presence, to grow in grace, so as to die in the state of grace. Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church
and author of the classic Glories of Mary, states that the grace of all graces is to die in the state of grace.
This should be our prayer every day for our souls, for those of our loved ones as well as for the whole world.
Today’s world makes it a special challenge to be in a state of grace, to grow in grace and to die in grace.
How to do it? There are few ways suggested by the saints and fathers of the church: 1st. Prayer, 2nd.
Read and live the Word of God in the Bible, 3rd. Participate in the Eucharist, 4th. Perform Spiritual and
Corporal works of mercy, 5th. Repent and perform Penance (Reconciliation), 6. Turn in prayer to Our Blessed Mother.
7th. Work to bring togetherness to your Family and community. These are the seven ways suggested that allow us to grow
in God’s amazing grace. The Psalmist (145:8) reminds us of these encouraging words: "God is slow to anger and rich in kindness."
Saint Paul (Rom 5: 20-21) reiterates the same theme: "Where sin abounds, the grace of God abounds all the more."
Therefore, it is our primary duty to make it a point to grow in the grace and the knowledge of God. In turn,
God gives us the actual grace and sanctifying grace, "Sanctifying grace is a habitual gift, a stable and supernatural
disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace,
the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God’s call, is distinguished from actual graces
which refer to God’s interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification" (CCC n. 2000).
Finally, St. Thomas says that a person can have some knowledge he has grace if he
"is conscious of delighting in God and of despising worldly things" and "is not conscious of any mortal sins".
This knowledge is imperfect. The Catechism invokes the classic example of Joan of Arc to prove this principle.
She was asked if she was in the state of grace. This was a trick question. Had she answered "yes",
she would have been burned as a heretic because no one can know for sure that they are in the state of grace.
Had she answered "no", she would be been burned as a witch because all she did would have possibly been a result
of the inspiration of the devil. She answered, "If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God keep me there" (Cf. CCC n. 2005).
Yes, it is very important throughout this season of Lent and always to learn and repeat the words of St. Joan of Arc:
"If I am not in the grace of God, may God put me there; and, if I am in the grace of God, May God keep me there."