Everything that we receive, experience, or happens to us is a gratuitous gift of God.
But the gift is given to us for a reason. Each and every gift!
Thus our Earthly lives are but the process of unravelling the mystery of God’s (with the Incarnation, now Christ’s in His human nature) gifts. Whether they be natural gifts on the order of Divine Providence or supernatural in the order of Grace they are given to us and for us by that loving hand and loving Sacred Heart.
The two most difficult parts of this are recognizing what is in our life truly as a gift.
- It’s very easy to perceive the gratuitous as something owed, something deserved, something we have achieved wholly by our own unaided natural powers absent the help of God’s gratuitous beneficence. This pride destroys the nature of the gift and often keeps it from truly bearing fruit in our lives to the extent in which God willed it to be able to produce.
- Once we realize we have received a gratuitous gift from God, however, it is necessary that we do something with that gift in our lives. We are not just a passive receiver, but with the gratuitous help of God, an active agent, a co-creative agent of God’s providence by our actions in the world. But there’s often an extreme difficulty here as well. How are we meant to respond gratuitously in response to God’s gratuitous gifts without falling into a pride that sees the results as wholly our own? How do we accord true glory to God as the source of all the good we do and yet properly cooperate and merit by the same?
Answering these two questions is necessary for all of us but a recent string of circumstances made them particularly personal for me. I don’t pretend to truly have all the answers, but I think nearly anything of any real importance should in some way be able to be connected to right answers to these two questions and that at least asking them is a necessary and important start.