Religion Column: All is by the grace of God

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2017

By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins 

Most of would agree that life is mostly about choices. Few would argue they have always made the best choices. A common lament is, “If I only knew, when I was younger, what I know now, who knows where I would be.” Such is the gift of choice and such the responsibility.

It is very easy to look over our shoulders at the past. An integral part of the exercise is the natural mental cleansing which has been given to us. The often repeated, “Time heals all wounds,” has merits. Of course, the emotional wound may be scarred over, but the pain of the event recedes. What we have left, in our memories is, mostly, the good things that have happened to us; as we edit out our more painful and negative experiences.

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Yet, in our lives, we tend to dwell on the negative. Somehow, we are not earning enough money, or have the right clothes, home, or car. Such is the very nature of this our materialistic world. Constantly assailed by enticements to consume, we have developed a culture of the value of our worth is measured in what we have; secondarily to what we are.

Seemingly, this appears to be reinforced in the Holy Bible, as we are told in the Book of Genesis that we are to subject all of the elements of the Earth to our authority.

“Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” It is so very easy to assume we may choose exclusion from the very dominion of our Creator.

However, the authority is given as a caretaker’s charge. In other words, we are given the responsibility to take care of His gifts, by His grace, to us.

Consider asking a friend, neighbor, or relative, the following questions: When you begin school, on the very first day, what is your grade? Is it zero, or is it 100 percent?” You may get some interesting responses. Some will say that they start at zero, and earn their way to a better grade. Others will reply that the begin with a perfect grade and earn their way out of it.

The last position is very much like life. When we are born, we have the newborn’ purity and innocence. However, as we age we begin to decrease our perfection, through negative choices; made against the directions of God and His Son.

Each act diminishes our “grade,” with a decrease, perhaps, to such a point that we may not see Heaven. Sad, but true. Further, do we know what the passing grade will be? Will God grade us on a curve? No, we have no idea what we can get away with.

We have no idea where the errors in our choices shall take us. We cannot earn our way in, but we can earn our way out.

As Christians, we rest our souls upon the grace of God. It is by, and through His mercy, we may be forgiven for our trespasses. Further, He calls upon each of us to forgive others, as we seek His grace for ourselves. For in doing so, we rise above our petty selves.

Let us remember, each day, that we are here only here as the children of God and all that we have and all that we are, is by His grace.