The Christian life cannot be taken for granted.
It is something more than just a ‘good’ human life.
The Christian life should, of course, be strong, in the natural virtues. Yet the Christian receives grace so as to be able to live the supernatural virtues. Grace builds on nature, not obliterating what is natural but refining, enhancing, strengthening it.
The Collect on Sunday, the 16th of Ordinary Time, reminded us of this.
Show favour, O Lord, to your servants
and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace,
that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity,
they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
It is not easy to know what we do by nature, and what we do by grace. But the one is our work, and the other is made possible by the work of God, so it is worth trying to distinguish them, even as we give God thanks for both!
Their combined effect is to help us live life well here on earth, and draw us more deeply into the communion of love and life with God which will be ours for ever.
- What are you conscious of needing God’s grace to accomplish?
Saints and angels in the Abbey of Montserrat. (c) 2003, Allen Morris