Lent, Days 9 and 10, Grace cont’d

As it turns out the section specifically on grace in the catechism ran out on Thursday.  I meant to post yesterday, but failed to do so, so I’m doubling up today.  I’ll be looking at a couple of other Catholic sources on grace in the coming weeks, but will be doing something of a sidestep today.  Even missing a day or two, it is important to keep up one’s practice.

So today’s source will be from one of my email missives from the Enneagram Institute.  One can go to the site — just Google Enneagram Institute and you’ll see how you can sign up — and  you can get daily postings (affirmations) specific to your Enneagram type.  My type is 6 — a figure who is both loyal, but also skeptical.  It ends up being very confusing at times.  I am eager to find a group to belong to, or with which I can identify, but, at the same time, there is profound doubt which causes me to test or question any such group or relationship.  As I’m familiar with the type and this predilection within myself, I can usually accommodate it and compensate for it.

This was the posting from yesterday:

Holy Faith gives us an unshakable confidence in the inherent goodness of life and of the universe, not as something we profess to believe, but from our own direct experience of it. (Understanding the Enneagram, 54)

The counter to doubt is faith, and so faith is a cardinal virtue for my type.  Strangely enough, deep down, I think I do believe in the “inherent goodness of life and of the universe.”  When I’m feeling down, I generally don’t feel surrounded or put upon by the world at large, and a realization of the goodness of the world around me can help me get past my doubts to regaining faith and confidence in the world, and in myself.  As a kid, I found myself very much identifying with Charlie Brown and especially Charlie Brown the baseball player — his team never won, and they were misfits, not well suited to being a team, but after shrugging off the disappointment of failure, Charlie Brown always got up and had faith that, next time, he would do better.  Much of the rest of the team had no such belief, and Charlie Brown often seemed foolish for such a belief (after all, his team wasn’t that good, and didn’t have their hearts in it), but I found that belief glorious.

For me, a sense of the underlying goodness and beneficence, and even generosity of the world around — nothing personal, necessarily, as I don’t believe in a personal God — gives me a sense of optimism, no matter how bad things are, or how bad they get.  When I act and live from the basic idea, I find myself in a pool of grace, or a bubble of grace.  And I believe I can tap into that goodness and beneficence and generosity.  And when I do that, I find, more and more, a calm dedication settling in.  It’s a good feeling, and I may be deluding myself to get that good feeling, but with that feeling often comes a great deal of hard work, so I think that such an idea must have something more than the “pleasure principle” behind it.

So, I’m thinking that grace is the color purple, but also our noticing the color purple, and realizing that we have that color (and a whole spectrum of colors) within us.  There are those in the world who will question this and may try to tear down such a belief in us.  But keeping that sense helps me quite a bit, and helps me come closer to my best self.

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