Lent, Day 23, back to Bernard on Grace

Well, I really fell down on the job (well, technically, it’s not my job) of keeping a Lenten blog last Friday and Saturday.  I should have posted but didn’t get around to it.  I thought of making it up, but have decided that I’m just going to plug ahead and not worry about missed opportunities.

In the selection from “Grace and Free Choice,” 19, Bernard makes an interesting statement:

“To will, indeed, lies in our power as a result of free choice but not to carry out what we will.” 

His point is that we all, as humans, have free choice, but that does not mean that we, on our own, will always choose wisely. For Bernard, this is where grace comes in.  Grace, the free flowing sanctifying grace, that’s always in the air, whether we notice it or not, helps us to choose the better course, but we can always choose the worse course, either out of fear, or greed, or some other sinful urging. 

Though I don’t accept some free flowing grace from a creator or a savior, I think that being aware of the blessings of the world do help us make better choices, more in keeping with love than hate.  We can choose to see the world as a battlefield and life as a battle, or we can choose to see it as a garden or some field of opportunities of which we can avail ourselves.

He also says that when we sin, it is our fault, but when we do not sin, it is due to God’s grace.  Though I think nothing we do is entirely due to our own efforts, and so our saying yes to life and its blessings, which we may be encouraged to do by the environment itself, redounds somewhat to our credit.  Likewise, when we fall, I don’t think it can be laid entirely on our doorstep.  Conditions and environment have an effect on us.  That said, it is best if we take responsibility for times when we mess up, and if we take responsibilities to say yes to life and love.

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