The Year 2017, and Grace

I’ve often heard people say, “By God’s grace,” but I don’t think I’ve fully understood then, what they meant. To me, it just sounded like a worn-out expression, made by the cliché-loving, or maybe by the pretentious. It isn’t news to the people who really know me that I am not religious, and I have a lot of questions about God and divinity. Looking back at my life, I’ve transitioned from being an obedient church-going child, rosary-yielding Bible quiz champion, and even church lector, to being an apathetic “non-practicing” Catholic, to even being an angry, bitter nonbeliever. I think every person takes their own spiritual journey that is unique to them, and such is the story of my own. I’ve read and watched and listened and contemplated a lot, about God, and I submit to you that at this time I cannot say that I do know who He is, only that I believe that He is. This year, I needed a lot, and there were moments I came to Him, but I came to Him with shame in my heart that I only drew near in my neediness. I recognized I was unworthy, each and every time, and that I am unworthy, for always. God never owed me anything. That I would have the gall to come to Him and ask for anything at all just seemed wrong and shameful and downright detestable. I shied away from asking, multiple times. I deserved none of anything. But this year, I understood grace, when He gave so much to me and for me, so much I never deserved. And as the scope of my reflection widened and extended back to all the other years past, I saw that it was His grace that sustained and continued to give to me, even though I gave nothing back. Such is grace, unmerited and yet given, undeserved and yet provided. Such is grace, out of love. And as this year ends, when people ask me, about what they see as great achievements and full-circle moments that border on miraculous in the story of my life, I have but one answer for them: It was grace. ♦

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