“Everything is Grace…”
This is a quote by St. Therese of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun who died in 1897 at the age of 24. St. Therese is a spiritual source of inspiration to me. Her quote goes on every e-mail I send because I want very much to believe, as she did, that everything that happens to us in life holds the potential to become grace-filled.
Practicing this concept is a spiritual practice. It’s challenging to imagine how everything in life can be a conduit for grace. Broken relationships, illness, the loss of a loved one, the loss of home and work…. how can one possibly believe these experiences are imbued with grace.
The only way I can accept the concept that “Everything is grace…” is to take a step back from my life and envision the total landscape of the large and small moments I’ve experienced. If I focus on any particular moment or event of my life’s journey (especially the most difficult times) I cannot honestly say that I feel those instances were graced. However, when I look at the total all encompassing picture of my life like a quilt made of various patches of experience, I see clearly that the thread weaving it all together is Grace.
It is certainly grace that sustains us when we endure suffering or how else would we survive the devastations that life can hurl at us. Grace is also what fuels our encounters with joy and love, and grace abounds when we find meaningful work and we align with the passions of our hearts. Surely it is grace, God’s Love for us, that saves us from certain death…. be it physical, spiritual, or emotional.
Some would say “Everything is grace…” is a saccharine and simply flippant statement. But I’m grateful to the young nun, St.Therese, who also said, “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth…” and proceeded to die an early death at 24 and become a saint. I’m grateful to her because her long ago statement reminds me to be grateful. To be grateful for not only the moments of joy and ease but (and this is no easy task) also the moments of challenge and despair. For in each and every moment of life grace is there weaving each breath to the next and the next. Grace and gratitude…. a spiritual practice…. the work of the soul.