Saturday, April 17, 2010

EASTER JOY: Amazing Grace

Teaching fifth grade religion to a bunch of absentminded ten-year-olds doesn’t exactly sound thrilling. During one class I was teaching last month, Jake, the class-clown, was rambling on about his dog, and Nicole and Hailey seemed to be chatting endlessly about, well, nothing. I started to become frustrated by this chaos and thought, why God? Why I am here? Pressing forward, I frantically tried to regain order, and I turned to Jake and said, “God loves you more than you can imagine;” after all, that was the theme of the lesson about the Triduum. That stopped him dead in his tracks, and then, so nonchalantly, he pointed to the crucifix hanging in the classroom and blurted out, “that’s why Jesus died for us, right?” Smiling and relieved, I simply said, “yes, that is how much He loves you.”

That is grace, a gift from God. In that moment, I found my reason to stand in the front of that classroom. I did not do anything that made Jake say that, so it had to be completely in God’s hands.

But how can we have any grace in our lives if we don’t have faith? The Catechism tells us that “grace is favor, free and undeserved help” and “participation in the life of God.” (CCC 1996-7) We don’t collect grace like spare change waiting to be cashed in; God gives it to us out of His unbounded love. We certainly don’t deserve any special grace from God, but that is what we celebrate during Easter. Christ’s victory over death is the greatest gift God has given us, and it points to one virtue- love. Despite every flaw that we have, God’s love for us has no end. That is grace, and that is love.

Wow! Grace truly is amazing!
Patrick Cahill