By Sister Elaine Freund, ASC

According to the late Trappist monk, Thomas Keating, “Grace is the presence and action of Christ at every moment of our lives.”

Life’s roller coaster twists of events make me wonder if Keating’s definition meets the challenge of the good, the bad and the disappointing. I know the Israelites found Yahweh in their abundance of healthy livestock and plentiful crops. Of course, God was with them in these generous times. Yet they praised God for the obliteration of their enemies—a thought we find cringeworthy. The important point is that they connected their everyday life with Yahweh, ever present and active in their midst.

Grace, the presence of Christ, is easily discerned in the miraculous birth of a grandchild, or the child of students we taught many years ago. We may struggle to find Christ’s presence in some of the bad events of life—a cruel death, an orphaned child, a second grader who is studying virtually and whose mental health is affected by loneliness in the absence of friends.

I have come to realize that when I weep, Christ weeps with me. Many times, I’m at the edge of wondering if Christ understands. Yet I believe he is saddened when a childhood friend, still in a troubled marriage, seems to choose dying alone. Christ sobs with me over the loss of a friend, I know, because of his reaction to the death of Lazarus. 

Lent is a time to “practice” Grace, my belief that Christ smiles, laughs, weeps, mourns with me, and does this faithfully “at every moment” of my life.

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