Jump to content

Struck By Grace?


Guest billmc
 Share

Recommended Posts

"Do we know what it means to be struck by grace? It does not mean that we suddenly believe that God exists, or that Jesus is the Saviour, or that the Bible contains the truth. To believe that something is, is almost contrary to the meaning of grace. Furthermore, grace does not mean simply that we are making progress in our moral self-control, in our fight against special faults, and in our relationships to men and to society. Moral progress may be a fruit of grace; but it is not grace itself, and it can even prevent us from receiving grace. For there is too often a graceless acceptance of Christian doctrines and a graceless battle against the structures of evil in our personalities. Such a graceless relation to God may lead us by necessity either to arrogance or to despair. It would be better to refuse God and the Christ and the Bible than to accept them without grace. For if we accept without grace, we do so in the state of separation, and can only succeed in deepening the separation. We cannot transform our lives, unless we allow them to be transformed by that stroke of grace. It happens; or it does not happen. And certainly it does not happen if we try to force it upon ourselves, just as it shall not happen so long as we think, in our self-complacency, that we have no need of it. Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life, a life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: "You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!" If that happens to us, we experience grace After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance." - Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations

 

Any thoughts on this anyone?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Liberation comes to me in the recognition of grace, not in any sense of my "acceptance" of it. For me, grace is that in which I live and move and have my being . Grace for me is the fundamental reality.

 

I have quoted this before, but again it is relevant for me.......

 

The reification of faith. Real meaning of the phrase we are saved by faith = we are saved by Christ, whom we encounter in faith. But constant disputation about faith has made Christians become obsessed with faith almost as an object, at least as an experience, a "thing" and in concentrating upon it they lose sight of Christ. Whereas faith without the encounter with Christ and without His presence is less than nothing. It is the deadest of dead works, an act elicited in a moral and existential void. To seek to believe that one believes, and arbitrarily to decree that one believes, and then to conclude that this gymnastic has been blessed by Christ - this is pathological Christianity. And a Christianity of works. One has this mental gymnastic in which to trust. One is safe, one possesses the psychic key to salvation......

 

Alternatively......

 

..............we are in paradise, and what fools would we be to think thoughts that would put us out of it (as if we could be out of it!). One thing I would add. To my mind, the Christian doctrine of grace (however understood - I mean here the gift of God's life to us) seems to me to fulfilll a most important function in all this. The realization, the finding of ourselves in Christ and hence in paradise, has a special character from the fact that this is all a free gift from God. With us, this stress on freedom, God's freedom, the indeterminateness of salvation, is the thing that corresponds to Zen in Christianity. The breakthrough that comes with the realization of what the finger of a koan is pointing to is like the breakthrough of the realization that a sacrament, for instance, is a finger pointing to the completely spontaneous Gift of Himself to us on the part of God - beyond and above images, outside of every idea, every law, every right or wrong, everything high or low, everything spiritual or material. Whether we are good or bad, wise or foolish, there is always this sudden irruption, this breakthrough of God's freedom into our life, turning the whole thing upside down so that it comes out, contrary to all expectation, right side up. This is grace, this is salvation, this is Christianity. And, so far as I can see, it is also very much like Zen.........

 

Both come - of course! - from Merton. One points to an atttitude of mind that one has "chosen" ones own salvation by one's act of choice, of belief. One's act of choice, belief, inititates salvation, moved you across from "lost" and into the Book of Life.

 

When one see's salvation as initiated by ones own choice, we surely cannot help but be divided from those whose "choice" has been different, or who have made none. And I see the results of such an attitude in the world around me. Conflict, and unending arguments concerning the actual mechanics of such choice, and of what in fact needs to be chosen/accepted. And the fear that results - for when one identifies ones salvation with the right choice, any other choice by another (who yet claims salvation) will inevitably become a challenge to one's own!

Edited by tariki
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(snip)

Simply accept the fact that you are accepted!" If that happens to us, we experience grace After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance." - Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations

 

Any thoughts on this anyone?

 

 

My experience differs in that It seems to me that grace is not simply the fact of accepting the fact that you are accepted and then experiencing grace. (if i have understood correctly what i have read here) To me grace is as tariki said "reality". It is the presence of God experienced personally and it does not require my acceptance of the "the fact" that i am accepted. The presence brings on the realization that i am accepted rather than the other way around. To me Grace brings on Grace. There is no reason other than reality is always present and when conditions are ripe in the concept of time, Grace happens.

 

"Life is like a box of Chocolates. You never know WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET. " biggrin.gif

 

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service