Things happen. Perspective matters. Choices are made. Civility counts. Recognizing the validity of divergent views does not necessarily alter personal ones, but it can inform and assist and deepen the opportunities for understanding and moving forward. In a whirlwind world of news and information, of reports contrary to expectations or hopes and the constant charges of fake news, discovering what we value may be more important than ever. Because it is only then that it is possible to navigate these turbulent waters and discover the many occasions of grace.
Grace is an elusive concept but a pervasive experience, if recognized, named and known. Grace is the splash of the divine in the flood of mediocre. Grace is the gift of awareness of God’s presence in the most mundane of circumstances. It is the assurance that in a world populated by luminaries and stars, the anonymous are beloved as well, that daily experiences have meaning and purpose, and the depth of what it means to be human is available to each of us. Grace is the moment of revelation that saves and salves, decontaminates and deescalates, invites and enthralling. Grace is gift and it knows as many incarnations as human experiences generates.
The grace of the shepherd is fidelity to mission as well as to the sheep, to see and grasp the broad perspective and know the joy and singularity of the narrower one. Grace is the sense that God can be present in every moment with even the most tentative of overtures. For the shepherd, the disposition towards goodness, balance, solidarity all speak. And for the sheep, protection and comfort are paramount.
Grace is finding an absence of privilege, a simplicity of being who we are flawed and yet unblemished, and somehow accepting of the mystery of all that. Grace flows when we can get out of our own way, step past ego and welcome humility. It is born in a thousand points of light and does not subside in darkness. Grace is the sliver of divine light that animates a broken world and offers something so much greater than self.
Grace emanates from the divine and is transmitted through the human. It is fuel of compassion and the strength of initiative. It is the impulse towards goodness and the catalyst for initiative. It is here when things happen, when suffering is reborn again in injustice, imperfection, and inequality. It is what moves each one towards becoming the hands and heart of Chrost in those situations.
Things do happen. Bad things. Perspectives and potions are taken. Choices are made. And always, there is the chance for the moments to become “an occasion of grace.”