God’s grace is all you need

God’s grace is freely given to all of His creation; every soul receives the gift of His grace but not all benefit from His unbounded munificence. It is incumbent upon each of us to recognize that without God’s help we will most assuredly fail to overcome and remove sin from our lives.

Three Temptations of Christ - Botticelli

Three Temptations of Christ – Botticelli

We cannot solely of our own devices conquer our inherent proclivities, our concupiscence, our human inclination and natural attraction to that which is not good, to that which is sinful and deleterious to the sanctity of our soul.  Without God’s grace there can be no hope for salvation because we cannot on our own efforts sanctify our soul.

While it is outside of our control to achieve sanctification, it is totally within our nature to lose it, all we have to do is give into the temptation of sin. And temptation is a stranger to no one, for even Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was exposed to temptation. “Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.”[1]

Temptation can be and often presents itself as an illusion, a chimaera, enveloped by wondrous delights and enticing goodness, which at its core contains the darkest of lies, and it is only through the grace of God that we can perceive beyond temptation’s shell its true nature. Saint Paul freely admitted that he struggled with temptation and sin, “that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”[2]

We can never hope to overcome temptation and sin through our own strength and self-righteousness, for those are characteristics that place one’s self above God. It is when we acknowledge our weaknesses, kneel before God, and ask for His mercy that we will find the true strength to overcome sin. In truth, we must determine whether we are approaching God like a Pharisee or a tax collector. As Jesus tells us “The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’”[3]

It is when we approach God with humility, when we are at our weakest, that we are the strongest, because only then are we filled with the power of God, only then do we fully benefit from His grace.

 

[1] Jn 4:1-2.

[2] 2 Cor 12:7-10.

[3] Lk 18:11-13.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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