When I was growing up in a Catholic home, it was mandatory and traditional to say what is called Grace before our meals. It went like this: Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
That prayer became rote and memorized and it. I repeated just words. I do not remember a feeling surrounding it. But, since my days of Catholism, for which I am grateful, for it was the beginnings of my understanding of faith, trust and a belief in a greater good behind the scene, my understanding of prayer and Grace evolved.
When I came to Religious Science and learned that the greater Good was within me, Grace took on a new meaning, prayers and the idea that God as me supplying me at all times became my new belief system. What does Grace mean to me now?
Grace is a gift that is mine to experience and accept at all times. It is a feeling of faith and trust in the benevolent outcome in every experience.
I wrote a blog on this many years ago and it said this, “Grace is a feeling, an experience of the heart. Whenever we think that something is impossible or that we are at the end of our rope about anything, Grace lets us know that everything is always all right. It is the deep call from within us, even in our darkest hour. Grace would sing the song, “Nothing’s gonna harm You…Not while I’m around.” Grace is like an insurance policy. Once we recognize it as ours; we do not have to think about it. When we call it answers.
Grace is a gift. It asks nothing in return. There are no strings attached to it. It is given freely with no expectation that we will even use it or want it. It just is. Remember the old spiritual? “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound; that saved a soul (wretch) like me; I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”
A good example of this in my present life all occurred this month during the process of finding a home, beginning a move and working on producing the CSL Kaua`i telethon. Grace most definitely came into play every time, I would stop long enough to recognize that something other than my finite mind was leading the way and making everything possible.” People showed up and took their place, funds flowed. It was fun, easy and graceful, I was supported fully by Grace. Ernest Holmes explains this when he writes, “Grace is the givingness of the Spirit to Its creation and not a special law, but a specialized one. In other words, Grace is, but we have to recognize it. It’s not something imposed upon us but is the logical result of correct acceptance of life and correct relationship to the Spirit.”
So, in other words, Grace is here. It is Spirit within each of us ready to support us in all of life. However, if we do not recognize it as being here, it can’t work though us. I remember a song we sang at our old Center all the time. It went like this: “We are held in the hands of Grace. Forever safe in the arms of love. Like a child receives protection in a mother’s warm embrace, we are held in the hands of Grace.”
Again, Grace is here. It’s always here. It takes our belief and trust in it. I believe it takes surrender to truly live in Grace. It’s more than a rote prayer over our meals. Praying does its best work, when it comes from our hearts. We are filled with Grace when we are filled with love and gratitude.
My knowing this Thanksgiving Season, as we move into the sacred Winter Solstice and the Holidays is that we can take time to rest in Grace and allow it to let the sacredness of this season live through each of us no matter what is happening in our individual life or the world. I believe if we will open up to Grace we will be guided through the rough spots. There is a Principle in the Declaration of Principles by Ernest Holmes that goes like this. “We believe the ultimate goal of life is complete freedom from all discord of every nature and that this goal is sure to be attained by all.” This is what it means to me to live by Grace alone. It is trust. It is faith. It is complete surrender to that highest part of ourselves that is always guiding us and directing us when we open up and allow life to flow through us.
Love and Aloha,
Rev. Rita Andriello-Feren, Co-Founding Director CSL Kaua`i and the Institute of Magnificence and Author of “What Do I Need to KNOW? 101 Thoughts That Changed My Life” and “This Thing Called Treatment,” both available on Amazon.