“I understood that God’s grace must be received just as God sends it, in the way He wants it, and one must receive it in that form under which God sends it to us.”
Perhaps one of the most difficult lessons to learn in the spiritual life is that to be truly holy, we must let go of ourselves and of our self will. We are not alone in this – reading the lives of very many of the Saints of the Church, we see this lesson appearing again and again. They, too, struggled with this, just as we do today.
Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking – and believing – that we are doing God’s will in one way or another. But on looking at it more closely, we may find that we have tried to put limits on the Almighty; we may well have opened ourselves to receiving what we desire to receive from Him – but we have not necessarily allowed Him to grant us those graces which He has planned for us, or we may wish to walk a path different to the one He sets for us.
Other times, we are open to God’s grace but we place conditions upon it – we choose the timing rather than leaving it to God. Once again, we see the Saints doing something similar – the great Saint Augustine is said to have prayed “make me chaste, O Lord, but not yet”. And Saint Paul had to be – literally – knocked off his horse before he could see God’s will for him. Once he did so, of course, he then played no obstacle in the way of fulfilling God’s will.
For Saint Paul, that ‘Damascus moment’ was brief and intense, with the effects of it lasting for the remainder of Paul’s life and transforming him completely, such that even his name was renewed.
For most of us, it may not be quite like this. For us, the more common path is one of repeated ‘little graces’, each one an opportunity for growth, renewal and deepening sanctity. Those graces are offered to us frequently and often. But, like Saint Faustina in the words above, we need to see them for what they are – and accept them with willing and joyful hearts, opening ourselves to the action of God within us. Only then will we begin to walk the path of true sanctity.
In our prayers today, let us ask the Merciful Lord for the grace to really TRUST in Him – in what He gives us, when He gives it to us, and in fulfilling what He desires us to do with His divine grace.