Living a Grace-intoxicated Life

 Do not be involved in too many things at once.

If through obedience or some necessity of your work

you have numerous things to attend to,

never be eager to finish some so that you can go on to others.

Such haste

-disturbs peace of heart;

-causes forgetfulness of God’s presence;

-shows clearly that there is much of self mingled with the inspirations of grace.

It shows also that nature may hinder

rather than help the effects that grace

would bring about in us and through us.

These would be in greater perfection and without

danger to health and devotion

if only we would let grace act with its ordinary gentleness.

Maxim of Love 7:4
Jean-Pierre Medaille, SJ

Sharing our stories...

Grace is a challenging word. As a young child, I was taught to remember GRACE as ‘God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense’. I had to memorize a lot about grace: I had to know that grace is about living with the knowledge of what God did for me (for us) … that Jesus died for my sins … that, without grace, I am a lost and wretched soul …. and that, without sin, grace would be shallow and empty [in other words, sin acts as a mirror that shows us our need for grace]. Such explanations help to keep ‘our condition’ in perspective – we’re constantly reminded that we live on both ends of a delicate teeter-totter, balancing sin and grace so we don’t think of one without the other. It wasn’t that difficult of an idea to grasp, even at a young age. It’s only now, as an old(er) man, that I realize grace is not so simple – it probably never was.


In the book GRACE: An Invitation to a Way of Life – Pursuing Spiritual Transformation, the statement is made that “Many Christians have an easier time being saved by grace than they do living in grace every day. But grace is at the center of the life God calls us to – and reflects the One who calls.”


When we take a moment to stop and reflect – seriously – about the spiritual life, we begin to see a fuller and clearer definition of grace. It becomes less about sin and salvation … and more about living deeply, living completely, living whole-ly (and holy) in the present moment … in the ‘ever-presence’ of God. Grace is no longer a simple noun describing ‘the teeter-totter relationship’ learned as a child – instead, grace becomes a transformational verb, a word of action and direction … rooted, deeply, in that mystical part of the divine that dwells within us … calling us to live fully … and to love completely. Grace, we might say, has evolved and matured.


As a closing thought … I wanted to return to the book mentioned previously, to a chapter titled Grace: An Invitation to a Way of Life. The chapter begins as follows:


“The Lord is my shepherd." It is a phrase that has inspired countless works  of art, but it is not meant to be merely a picture. It is beautiful to speak, but it is not meant to be poetry. People read it at funerals, yet it isn't about  death. Instead, it is an invitation to a way of life. It is the confident statement that it is possible to live in the unceasing care of a relentlessly attentive and gracious God …  


Jesus was the first person on earth to understand and continuously live the Twenty-third Psalm. His Father was his Shepherd every moment of every day. Jesus moved about in the midst of relentless demands and difficulties, but he allowed himself to be led to green pastures and quiet waters. He lived with a regularly ‘restored soul.’ He had no place to call home and yet was content – joyfully content. He did not want. Living moment by moment in his Shepherd’s presence was enough.


In the ordinariness of sparrows and lilies, loaves and fish - and in the extravagance of costly perfume – he had eyes to see a steady flow of his Shepherd’s gracious gifts. His cup ran over and he drank in every drop.  It’s no wonder that at dinner parties and seaside gatherings, at a wedding feast and a well encounter, he made everyone else’s cup run over, too.”


We all share in the same (open-ended) invitation to a new way of life … a grace-filled, grace-intoxicated life where we rest, and move, and find our being …. in the presence of an always-loving, always-caring God. I think of this real experience as GRACE … only with an updated, post-modern acronym. I remember it as – God’s Radical Attitude ... Caring Everyday.

Mark Dickinson
 Stittsville, ON


#2 gracem 2014-01-28 20:35
#2 GMcGuire
Thank you for this wonderful reflection! Being open,ready, attentive and receptive to the 'invitation' of the grace-filled moments will be my intention and prayer.
#1 arletteh 2014-01-27 21:44
That our lives are destined for continual transformation, from the teeter-totter of "sin-grace" to the experience of this "relentlessly attentive and gracious God"! What a healing feeling!.... Grace is gentle. Haste is not! I think that's still a bit of a teeter-totter for me. When I pray "Thy will be done, I add to myself "and may I receive it as grace! Thank you for the insights!

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