My heart was consoled upon hearing these words of St Paul as I recently watched the movie, Paul: Apostle of Christ. For what amazing grace! The fact that we cannot “out-sin” the grace of God is the essence of the good news of the Gospel that Jesus demonstrated through His Passion and Resurrection. But I was struck too, by how often I have forgotten this reality, and have been oblivious to the grace of God around me.
For when we are surrounded by sound and fury, and knowledge of evil and suffering, we tend to lose sight of all that is good and true and beautiful. This is especially true when we personally experience suffering—the loss of a spouse, a friend’s betrayal, or a natural disaster.
But it is in the face of suffering that these words from St Paul’s letter to the Romans (5:20) truly take on new meaning, especially as we consider that, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (8:28) This is not some platitude, but reflects the firm hope we have in the power of the Resurrection. Yet we must be awake to God’s presence as we go through our daily lives. So how can we do that?
Through prayer and meditation on His Word. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It can be “Good morning, Lord!” as you get out of bed. Listening to a reflection on the Sunday readings. Offering a decade of the rosary when in line at the store. Giving thanks before a meal. Praying a prayer with your children at bedtime. Saying “Thank you, Lord, for another day, and please help me love better tomorrow.” before you fall asleep.
Whenever we intentionally stop, look, and listen to the stillness and silence, we will find that our awareness of the extraordinary goodness and beauty around us increases. But we need to choose it. Being prayerful begins with the choice to make one small change to “wake up.”
So what might the extraordinary look like in our lives? Honestly, it’s going to be different for each of us. Why? Because the sins that enslave us are as different as each of us, but the healing and freeing graces of the Resurrection are the same. The same graces found when we receive our Lord in the Eucharist. Where the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Savior breaks our bonds of sin and death and transforms us into His signs of love and mercy and light.
So are you awake? Are you ready for the extraordinary graces of this Easter season? I will be praying that each of us receives our Lord in Holy Communion as much as possible during this Easter season, so that we continue to be prepared to receive the extraordinary graces He has in store for us at the Eucharistic Congress in June, 2019. For truly, “where sin abounds, grace abounds more.” Happy Easter!