Tag Archives: Grace

Whoosh, Heat, and Whisper

Sometimes, the Holy Spirit arrives like a whoosh that moves through you from head to toe. Other times, He’s like a radiating heat the moves outward from the inside. And yet, there are times when He is just a small whisper that you must be very still and listening to hear.

At my daughter’s Confirmation in the Basilica, the whoosh arrived as the entrance hymn began. I almost had to sit down. The whoosh often makes tears begin to fall from my eyes which is very humbling for me. I have spoken about my gift of tears in prior blogs. It is not something I would ever choose. But it is a gift and I do accept it now.

When I visited my niece at the hospital, she told me that as I was praying over her and blessing her with St. Jude oil, she could feel a heat radiating from me. It was real and tangible for her and I knew it was simply the Holy Spirit.

This week, I had the honor of sponsoring my friend’s daughter for Confirmation. I expected the whoosh, but it didn’t come. I waited for the radiating heat, but it wasn’t there. It was when my friend’s daughter kneeled in front of me to receive the Holy Eucharist on her tongue from the Archbishop who said, “Body of Christ” and she whispered “Amen” that the Holy Spirit made Himself known to me. What an amazing gift to receive the Eucharist and the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. I felt so unworthy to receive, but I, too, whispered, “Amen.”

 

 

 

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Grace pouring down like rain

It’s been raining all day today. My youngest daughter has been watching the weather and shared with us that she saw a clear pattern: light but steady rain, followed by a downpour, then thunder and lightning with no rain, finally stillness, and then the pattern repeats. I am looking outside as I type this and realizing that suddenly there is a whole lot of green grass and budding yellow bushes all around me. Where did those come from? Just yesterday, I do not think it was this fresh and green and full of life!

This pattern reminds me of God’s grace in our lives. He give us a steady and gentle dose of grace, as He reminds us to keep on the right path. Then He’ll send the downpour of grace right before tumultuous times in our lives that feel like the thunder and lightning. We don’t always recognize this downpour because we don’t even know we need it yet! And once we get through those difficult times, we find peace and stillness. We take a moment to look around and see all the newness that our spiritual growth has brought forth.

This new growth was hiding as a seed in our Baptismal grace. It takes walking through all that life serves us to grow spiritually. God gives us just what we need for our faith to grow and bear real fruit.

 

How to Accept Gifts With Grace

Graciously accepting gifts is harder than it sounds. In my family, accepting a compliment was like bragging. If you were gifted in any way, that was obvious and so it didn’t need to be mentioned. Since I was raised in this type of environment, I didn’t even realize that I had a problem graciously accepting gifts, even as small as a compliment. So this post is for those of you out there like me, who need some ideas on how to be a gracious “receiver” of the gift.

First, let me help you identify if you have this problem. Here are some of the ways it might manifest in your life:

Situation #1:
A co-worker gives you a simple compliment such as, “I like your new haircut.” You immediately respond, “Oh, well, I think it’s too short for what I really wanted and I’m not sure I can even manage to style it right.” That is not the way to accept a compliment.

Instead, you should say, “Well, thanks!” It’s as simple as that. How I came to realize this is a co-worker told me that I would never accept her compliments and it bothered her. She gave me specific examples, and I realized she was right. I have learned to say, “Thank you,” although if feels like my mouth is full of rocks.

Situation #2:
While visiting a neighbor’s house, she offers you a bottled water or something to eat. You immediately say, “Oh, I’m fine.” And you may have just had lunch and are truly full. That is not the way to accept your hostess’ gift.

Try this instead: out of courtesy, accept the water or food. You do not have to finish it and that is not wasteful. Breaking bread together (or drinking water) is a simple way to show you are friends with someone.

Situation #3:
A  friend points out that you have a natural talent at (fill-in-the-blank). You laugh it off and say, “Oh, I am not really that good at (fill-in-the-blank). That is not the way to accept your God-given gifts. 

God does not make junk! You were given some amazing gifts that only you have. They are irreplaceable and there is no one on this planet who can come close to being you! I suggest you respond with, “Why, I never realized that before now. I am so glad you pointed that out because you are right, I am good at (fill-in-the-blank).” Then thank God the next time you pause in prayer!

 

The Gift of Undeserved Grace

I always find myself apologizing to my oldest child and explaining to him that he’s basically our “training wheels” for the other children. He laughs at this, but yesterday we were recalling some of his toddler and preschool years, and I found myself apologizing all over again.

When he was about 5 1/2 years old, I found some letters scratched into the hood of my minivan. The first letter happened to be the first letter of his sibling’s name. I confronted his only other sibling who could write at that time. She adamantly said it was not her, and she really wasn’t so great at writing legibly. I went back to my oldest child and asked for the truth, please. He adamantly said it was not him.

However, he had lately become obsessed with rocks and writing with rocks, and this looked clearly like the scratching of a rock. Also, you had to be pretty tall to reach that far up the hood of the car. All facts were pointing towards my son. I started drawing a line in the sand. I mean, really? This was lying! And as a parent, I felt I needed to nip this in the bud. My son would not budge. He did not care what the penalty was. Being a brilliant parent, I just kept raising the bar. He knew that I always follow through, but that didn’t seem to matter to him. Finally, my husband arrived home from work.

I explained the whole situation to my husband. He agreed with my thoughts and course of action, and backed me up as he has always done. (Thank God! I haven’t always been as wise as my husband, but that is another story…) My son would not come clean. So, the wise parents slammed him by taking away additional privileges. His behavior became unbearable. The next day was like living with a crazy person. Our extreme measures had created a beast!

I turned to a wise friend and explained the situation. She immediately said, “Now, this is your chance to show him what true grace is!” I said, “But, but, but…” She said, “You have set him up to have no way to win, so he is just acting out his total frustration. You are right, he is wrong, but he definitely isn’t learning the lesson you wanted him to learn. Can you see that?” “Oh yes, I can see that,” I replied. She suggested that we offer him grace. Just like Christ died for our sins on the Cross without us deserving or gaining this, we would take away his transgression without him deserving it.

My husband and I called our son into the room by himself that evening. We brought up the minivan hood and the fact that he lied about it. He began to look very upset. We told him that we wanted him to experience real grace. We told him that we forgave him for all of it and wouldn’t mention it again. It did not matter how or why it happened and all his privileges were restored. We loved him and wanted to give him undeserved grace, just like Jesus gave us when He died on the Cross for our sins.

I have never seen such a lifting of spirit! He immediately became a different little boy. His whole self just seemed to expand and glow. He gave us giant hugs and ran off to play.

We hadn’t spoken about this for almost a decade. When it came up yesterday, he said that he had written on the minivan hood. He also said he could clearly remember the meeting with us and the feeling of the gift of grace. I guess we managed to recover pretty well from one of our many parenting mishaps!