Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
SUNDAY, June 13th Mk. 4: 26-34 Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.”
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
- The message of these two parables is that God gives the growth!
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
CCC 1996. Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.” (2Cor 5:17-18)
CCC 2002. God’s free initiative demands man’s free response.
What is our response? We can give lip service to God’s offer of grace. All of us have been guilty of that at one time or another. The proof is in our actions.
This meditation is a call to an honest assessment of our life of grace. Perhaps sharpening our pencils. What areas can we grow in? And in what specific ways? This guided meditation can help us discern.
THE WILL OF GOD – SEEK GRACE IN YOUR LIFE by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
On one occasion the great mystic, Saint Catherine of Siena, was granted a vision into the state of one soul imbued with sanctifying grace. Upon contemplating the beauty of this one soul in God’s grace, she fell to her knees. Enthralled and totally captivated by its beauty, she thought it was God Himself!
Of all of the gifts that we can receive on earth as pilgrims traveling towards our eternal home, the grace of God is by far the greatest treasure. It is the pearl of infinite price!
Whereas the worldly and sensual pursue money, fame, power, and pleasure as their ultimate source of happiness (which really is a lie and illusion), God’s true friends pursue ardently and constantly to grow in grace. Another rather simple way to understand the life of grace is simply this: friendship with God. God desires ardently to be our Friend, but He respects our freedom to accept His friendship or not.
The life of grace all starts in the moment that we receive the Sacrament of Baptism. The graces that flow from Baptism are extraordinary, almost mind-boggling—how good God really is. Once the water is poured on the head with the words: “I baptize you, In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, invisible but real miracles occur: an intimate relationship with the Blessed Trinity, the infusion of the theological virtues—faith, hope and charity, the moral virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Still, of paramount importance is the reality of Grace that permeates and imbues the soul in the moment of Baptism!
With the waters of Baptism, we enter into a deep and intimate friendship with our Triune God and we become partakers of His divine nature—we become sons and daughters of God and have an inheritance—if we persevere in grace—in heaven forever! For that reason the saints teach us: grace is the seed of eternal life.
Given that grace in our soul is the greatest gift and presence, we should do all in our power to preserve grace, 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 soul, and the souls of our loved ones, as well as the whole world. Indeed, Jesus came as universal Savior—to save the whole world through His Paschal mystery—His passion, death and Resurrection from the dead!
Then there are the two worst things in the universe, which are the following. First, committing a mortal sin (this indeed is terrible). Second, worse still is dying in the state of mortal sin; this, of course, results in eternal separation from God for all eternity! May God save us from the reality of mortal sin! Nonetheless, if we do have the misfortune of falling into mortal sin, we should never give into despair. On the contrary, we should have a limitless confidence in God’s infinite mercy and have recourse to the wonderful Sacrament of God’s mercy that we call Confession! The Psalmist reminds us with these encouraging words: “God is slow to anger and rich in kindness.” (Ps. 103:8) Saint Paul reiterates the same theme: “Where sin abounds, the grace of God abounds all the more.” (Rom. 5:20)
WAYS TO GROW IN THE GRACE OF GOD
We should do all in our power to preserve God’s grace in our soul, but also to grow daily in God’s grace. God’s intimate friendship and His grace in our soul are worth more than the whole created universe. The natural realm in which we live can never be compared to the supernatural realm in which we find the concept and reality of grace. As a fish swims in water, as a bird flies in the sky, so should we be swimming and flying in the atmosphere of grace! This should be the most ardent desire of our heart, mind and soul!
Every time we pray with humility of heart, purity of intention, and a desire to please God, we immediately grow in grace. For that reason we should treasure prayer, our prayer life and the prayer life of others, as the highest and greatest of all realities. Parents who teach their children to pray are the best of parents; parents who are slothful and negligent in educating their children in the area of prayer will have to give an account on the day of their judgment! Because of the numerous distractions of daily life, how easy it is for parents—who must be the first educators of their children—to be negligent and sloppy in teaching their children to pray! May God have mercy on us!
The Word of God teaches us this consoling truth: “Love covers a multitude of sins.” If we can respond to the ways and opportunities that God offers us on a daily basis to practice charity and service, or even alms-giving, towards others then we have another means to augment grace in our souls. In the movie Little Boy, the little boy is given what the priest calls the “Magic list” to accomplish, so that his father will return home, safe and sound, from the World War. The “Magic list” is nothing more than the Corporal Works of Mercy listed in scripture Mt. 25:31-46. “I was hungry and you gave me to eat; thirsty and you gave me to drink; a foreigner and you welcomed me; sick and in prison and you came to visit me; dead and you provided for the burial.” Beg the Holy Spirit in prayer which of these He is calling you to carry out in practice in your life, so as to increase grace in your soul! Always remembering that charity begins at home; we are to practice these in our own home with our own family with great generosity first.
Jesus stated that some devils can be cast out only through prayer and fasting. (Mt. 17:21) The Lord also reminds us: “Anyone who wants to be my follower must renounce himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt. 16:24) Every time we say “no” to our selfish desires and “yes” to a sacrifice that the Holy Spirit has inspired in our heart, then once again the grace of God rises in our heart! An added blessing from God when we undertake a life of sacrifice is the conquering of our bad habits, accompanied by interior peace of mind, heart and soul! Let us be generous with God who loves us so much!
4. SACRAMENTS: THE EUCHARIST
Of course, the greatest action in the whole universe is that of receiving the greatest of all Sacraments: The Eucharist! The Holy Eucharist—Holy Communion, is truly and substantially the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Receiving Our Lord with the best of dispositions, that is in the state of grace, with faith, love, humility, and a desire for deeper conversion through His love, is an infinite source of grace because this Sacrament is God Himself! For this reason, there is no greater action we can do as pilgrims and wayfarers on earth than to receive Jesus with frequency, lively faith, and burning love! If you like a simple image, receiving Jesus with burning love in your heart causes the gas gauge in your spiritual tank (your soul) to shoot up way beyond full. Beg for the grace to have a daily hunger for the Bread of life so as to constantly skyrocket in grace—to penetrate the high heavens while yet on earth! In the Our Father we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread…” Perhaps Jesus is challenging you to aim at daily Mass and daily Holy Communion so as to surmount the highest mountains in the realm of grace!
5. OUR LADY: HAIL MARY
On one occasion, the German mystic and saint, Saint Gertrude, saw Jesus in heaven. He was resplendent in glory, but He was doing an intriguing gesture: placing a golden coin on top of a huge mound of other gold coins. The saint was just finishing praying the Hail Mary to our Lady. Jesus responded in this manner. “Gertrude, every time you pray the Hail Mary to my mother with faith and devotion, I am depositing a Golden coin in heaven that will be yours for all eternity.” If we want to be multi-billionaires in heaven, let us love Mary and the prayer that Mary loves so much—the Hail Mary. In the Hail Mary we greet the Queen of Heaven and earth with these beautiful words: “Hail Mary, Full of Grace.”
Therefore, let us get in the habit of praying the daily Rosary, saying the beautiful prayer Hail Mary. If done, Our Lady, through her powerful intercession will be storing up for you infinite treasures and an eternal home in heaven!
May we love grace, treasure grace, strive to grow in grace, and finally die in grace through the intercession of Mary, the “Full of grace.”