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Monday, February 3, 2014

Thank God for actual graces

By Mary N.

File:Pope Felix presents church to Cosmas and Damian.jpg
Pope Felix Present the Church to Cosmas and Damian
(Wikimedia Commons)

When praying to the Lord I often request "actual graces". This is the term used for the special grace God gives to perform a particular task and I've noticed that when I pray for these "actual graces" God always grants them as long as I am praying in accord with His Will for me and with regard to my station in life. As far as I can tell, He has never refused this request though it is quite likely that I have failed to respond to them fully when given. Actual grace is a bit different than sanctifying grace.

I like to think of actual grace as "the grace of the present moment". Since I am not a a theologian I realize that this definition is a bit off so here (and here) are more precise explanations of actual grace and the help it provides us. These special graces are given to us to help us, in a supernatural way, complete a task God is asking of us. He gives us "a leg up" so to speak. They are temporary and not to be confused with sanctifying grace, the grace which communicates supernatural life into the soul at baptism.

I have noticed in my own life that the more often I ask for and respond to "actual grace" the more I get. God is generous in his giving. I call it the "grace of the present moment" because it is in the present that I receive this help from God. Certainly, I can pray for the "actual grace" to accomplish an important task tomorrow but I don't receive the special grace until the precise time it is needed.

There is a certain purity attached to the present moment. Each new day becomes a clean slate to write on. What we write on this slate is up to us. The term "present" has not gone unnoticed by me and as we unwrap the gift of today may we remember to treasure this gift, ask for the grace to live it well and give thanks because the gift tag contains the signature of the Almighty God.

"This is the day the Lord has made;  let us rejoice in it and be glad!"     Psalm  118:24

Mary N. blogs at The Beautiful Gate.


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