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Grace Does Not Come to Order

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No one has ever seen God; but as long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us. We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit.

— 1 John 4

Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.

Humility is not the will to do nothing in order to become all: rather it is the acceptance of self in openness to the Other. For a Christian the divine cannot be reduced to the exploration of one’s own inner life or the acquisition of cosmic ‘powers’. The divine has nothing to do with scientism, however spiritualistically inclined. It is Someone who comes to us in the sovereign freedom of His love. Grace does not come to order. We can only prepare ourselves to receive it, making ourselves attentive to the possibility of a meeting.”

— Olivier Clement,
“The Roots of Christian Mysticism”

In an age of fast food, cars, and the Internet, we seem to be running all the time. Yet, even with our digital calendars, we risk missing the most important meeting of all, our appointment with the Lord. That is not to say that these technological advances have to be an impediment to the encounter. Rather, when we allow them to become our measuring stick for satisfaction in every area of our lives, we will look for quick prayer and quick “results” from what we believe are “our” efforts.

Prayer is not about results or even our efforts, but about love. In fact, it is really not about us at all, but about the One who hungers to be known and loved, the “Other,” who calls us into the intimacy of communion with Himself in His Son and lives His life within us and through us by His Spirit.

The Lord whom we seek is outside of time, having given time as a gift to those whom He now prepares for eternity. He dwells in the eternal now and invites us through prayer along a path to the fullness of life. That path passes through humility.

Preparing ourselves for the “possibility of a meeting” means learning to silence the clamor of the age, stop the ever accelerating pace of the futile quests that so often occupy our hearts, and live in the eternal now by surrendering ourselves -- and even our best aspirations -- to the One who created us -- and now re-creates us -- in His Son Jesus Christ.

It is there, in the emptied place, in the stillness of the eternal now, where we prepare a room for the King of all hearts. And, in that encounter, we soon find the longing of our heart fulfilled.

Grace does not come to order. Rather, it is freely given, lavished in fact, upon those who learn to live in God and live as though God lives in them.

In this fast-paced age, the Holy Spirit is calling for a generation of contemplatives. We tend to believe that the contemplative life is reserved for those who, by special vocation, can “leave” the world. They are a true treasure and a prophetic sign of the life to come. However, all who are baptized into Christ are called to the same meeting.

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About The Author


Deacon Keith Fournier is a member of the Catholic Clergy of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, currently serving at Saint Benedict Catholic Church and teaching at the Parish School. He is a student, working on his Ph.D. in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America. He holds a degree in Philosophy and Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville (B.A.), a graduate degree in the theology of Marriage and family from the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (M.T.S.) and a Doctor of Law Degree (J.D.) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Attorney