During his talk in Rome for the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) in Rome last June 2017 Pope Francis said, “You have received a great gift from the Lord. You were born of the will of the Spirit as “a current of grace in the Church and for the Church.”
The Church is like a great orchestra, where every instrument is different from another and the voices are also different, but all are necessary for the harmony of the music. And as a whole Church, have only one head, only one Lord: The Lord Jesus. And we can say this with the strength that the Holy Spirit has given us, because no one can say “Jesus is the Lord” without the Holy Spirit.
What is the first gift of the Holy Spirit? The gift of Himself, who is love and makes you enamored of Jesus. And this love changes life. Because of this, it is said that we are “to be born again to life in the Spirit.” Jesus said this to Nicodemus. As Christians, we have received the great gift of the diversity of charisms,a diversity that leads to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, to the service of the Church.
Grace is a word that bears the weight of multiple meanings, both in English and in Greek (charis, gratia). Grace is at once the fruits of God’s acting upon us and a free supernatural gift of God to help us attain eternal life. Grace empowers our intellects and wills to understand God’s will and obey it, yet at the same time it leaves us free to resist if we choose.
St. Thomas Aquinas taught that grace heals the soul by helping us recognize the good while empowering us to desire the good, do the good, persevere in the good and reach glory.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of 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 who forms the Church (1997).
As God’s children, we all receive grace abundantly in our lives. We can choose not to collaborate with God’s grace , and we can ignore it, never knowing that every moment in life is a grace.
Now you are here because you want to respond to God’s grace. There’s no coincidence in our lives. Everything is in God’s plan. God has a wonderful plan for each of us. He wants us to have a happy life, the genuine happiness can be only found in God.
Outside of God there is no genuine happiness. Sometimes, you think you are happy due to your wealth, your position as a leader, and so on. But if you want to be honest with yourself, neither your wealth, job, nor your hobbies will not make you happy inside. Perhaps in your appearance you look happy, but on the contrary, you realize in the depth of your heart there is still emptiness or unhappiness.
God gives us His actual grace to do many things, but we don’t realize it. The grace that God pours out upon us is like the sun. It depends on our receiving it. If we want to get a suntan, we have to leave our houses and go to the beach. If we stay inside, we will never get a suntan.
It’s only a metaphor, but it’s the same thing with grace from God. He always gives it to us even though we are sinners. But we need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to receive God’s grace.
(to be continued)
Copyright 2018, Sister Theofila
About the author: Sister Theofila is the Prioress of the Daughters of Carmel, located in Saint Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park. Visit Daughters of Carmel website for more information. Sister Theophila gave this conference during a Charismatic Renewal event.