By Father Patrick Toner Contributing Columnist
March 7, 2014
There are three qualities of superior beings: Intellect, freedom, and will. These are important when it comes to the invitation to share in God’s grace.
• Use your intellect to consider what you are being invited to share; listen carefully, collect all the facts, weigh the arguments, discuss it with others. You have a lot of unrealized knowledge, but need to put things into perspective. Have you ever thought about a billion dollars? One million thousand dollar bills stacked would reach 666 feet in the air. It makes you think of a billion dollars in a more realistic manner than Congress does. “A billion here, a billion there, before long you’re talking about real money.”
• Use your freedom to decide; it is always your choice. God does not force himself upon us, he invites us, in our own time. Only you can choose the time and place that you respond. Use your freedom to seek the truth.
• When you are ready, use your will to make that decision a way of life. Without the willpower, all the good intentions of the world won’t change you. Will is a thousand times more powerful than thoughts.
Any discussion of Grace could get complicated. In one of my doctoral theology classes, a young minister asked the professor if he believed in the “expiatory salvific atonement of Jesus Christ.” The professor spent an hour before the break answering. At the break, the young man came up to me to ask if the professor had answered the question and if Catholics believed in the expiatory salvific atonement of Jesus Christ. I replied, “If you mean “Do I believe Jesus died for my sins?, then yes.” He asked why the professor could not have said that. You see, the answer depends on how you ask the question. I would like to keep my reflection on grace simple, so here is what I mean: Grace is the Abundant Love of God freely given and accepted through faith.
I often reflect upon the vastness of the universe. God made it bigger than we need. I can see that as a sign of how abundant his love is. In fact, God seems to always overdo things. Five loaves to feed thousands with 12 baskets of leftovers, what’s with the leftovers? He provides more than we need. One drop of Jesus’ blood would have atoned for all of our sins, but he poured it all out for us. Read the story and RSVP.
Father Patrick Toner is pastor at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 140 West Ave., Plain City. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 873-8850.