Monday, October 12, 2009
Grace and Guidance
Unless you believe that your life is an accident, that somehow a series of chemical processes is wholly responsible for your existence, you may from time to time seek Divine guidance.
I was raised Catholic and for many years, lived by the dogma and man-made rules that I thought defined my religion. It was not what you would call a “living” faith; more like an unpleasant obligation to fulfill. I didn’t get much out of it, and as I looked around me I saw that no one else seemed to either.
Eventually, I felt driven to embark on my own spiritual quest. Through my participation in twelve step programs, meditation groups, and the study of other religions, I gradually attained an awareness of a spiritual life I knew I had been missing. I was enlightened by the teachings of Buddhism and other eastern traditions. I learned from the Pre–Christian Earth mother religions and Native American beliefs. My spiritual life was enriched and informed by the writings of Khalil Gibran, Eckhart Tolle and many others.
The result of this search was that it brought me full-circle, back to the beginning and my own faith of origin, but I began to discern that there was a vast difference between reciting prayers and responses by rote and simply showing up at Mass each week, and actually attempting to live the faith, which is what I believe we are called to do.
I began to perceive that my God was not an old man sitting up on a cloud somewhere, but was more like a wind, moving among us, surrounding us and blowing right through us here on Earth. My God works in miraculous ways, through human beings. My God is loving, forgiving and welcoming. My God is part of me, and speaks from within.
In past times of indecision or strife, I have found myself either in church, or in seclusion at home, searching through scriptures, pondering the New Testament and the psalms, looking for a sign post on my life’s journey…which way to go? Looking back over my life, I see now with aggravating clarity, the forks in the road where I chose poorly. Hind-sight is twenty-twenty, as they say. Those were times when I depended on my own weak sensibilities and flawed judgment to make my decisions. I have come to realize, however, that there have been a handful of times, when I was so distraught and depleted that I asked for Divine intervention. In effect, I asked God to show me what the right decision was, or simply to make something happen with the caveat: “Your will, not mine be done.” When I look back now on the results of those times of “letting go and letting God,” I see with mild astonishment how right the path I chose eventually turned out to be. This is one way that I have come to experience Grace.