Catholics believe that all creation is good and that evil is the wrong use of good and that without Grace we use it wrong most of the time.
Lacking hope, we don’t really believe God can make us happy, and so we construct our happiness out of covetousness and lust. We don’t wait to find the fullness of our existence in God, and so we shape an artificial identity grounded in pride. Or else—the most common condition among people of good will—we would like to love and be generous in loving and giving ourselves, but we are held back by fears, hesitations, and worries. Lack of trust in what God’s grace can do in our lives, and what we can do with his help, leads to a shrinkage of the heart, a lessening of charity. But, as St. Thérèse of Lisieux said, trust leads to love.
One of the hardest things to swallow is that God even teaches us goodness and truth by confronting us with evil and falsity. But the way He teaches us is not by the evil or the lie, but by the grace He gives us at the same time to react against it and to turn to His hidden Truth: Noli vinci a malo sed vince in bono malum. [Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good (Romans 12:21).]
Yet one of the most essential conditions for God’s grace to act in our lives is saying yes to what we are and to the situations in which we find ourselves.
The Lord gives us the grace to fulfill any task he puts before us. If he has called us to be Franciscans for the Church and the world by observing the gospel, we are certain that he provides the means to accomplish this vocation. One of the primary ways that his grace is manifested to us is through his own presence which is always present in various forms for us to encounter and respond to. Through such interaction with the living and active person of Christ, our relationship with him becomes more intense, our commitment to the gospel is deepened, and our three-fold task of change of heart, community-building, and evangelization become more firmly our way of life.
Grace is a gift of God; but as a general rule it is given only to him who asks for it by fervent and constant prayer, who makes a good use of it, and who corresponds with it promptly and faithfully.
~ St. Leonard of Port Maurice, OFM
What then are we to do about our problems? We must learn to live with them until such time as God delivers us from them…we must pray for grace to endure them without murmuring. Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly.
~ A.W. Tozer via Franciscan Friars of the Atonement
Most people desperately desire to believe that they are part of a great mystery, that Creation is a work of grace and glory, not merely the result of random forces colliding. Yet each time that they are given but one reason to doubt, a worm in the apple of the heart makes them turn away from a thousand proofs of the miraculous, whereupon they have a drunkard’s thirst for cynicism, and they feed upon despair as a starving man upon a loaf of bread.
~ Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas
We must not rely too much upon ourselves, for grace and understanding are often lacking in us. We have but little inborn light, and this we quickly lose through negligence. Often we are not aware that we are so blind in heart. Meanwhile we do wrong, and then do worse in excusing it.
~Thomas à Kempis via OH……….. FRANCESCO.
As I was reminded by a wise religious sister of the Servants of God’s Presence, the sisters of Heart’s Home, there is a difference between action and activism. A true action is one done through, with, in, and for God—one that is filled with meaning, purpose, and God’s grace. Activism on the other hand is the temptation to do things just to do them, to do things for myself so that I’ll feel competent, important, in control. How easy it is to cross that line! Even the truest, purest action is plagued by the human tendency to fall into activism.
~Katherine Infantine, First Thoughts | A First Things Blog