Friday, January 27, 2012

Receiving Grace, Sharing Grace

Butterfly on lavender, Senanque, France, 2009
These two devotional readings encouraged me today.

On Cleaving to God by St. Albert the Great (Chapter 5, On purity of heart, which is to be sought above all things):

     "This is the true union of spirit and love
by which a man is made compliant
to all the impulses of the supreme and eternal will,
so that he becomes by grace what God is by nature.                                  
     "At the same time
it should be noted that in the very moment in which one is able,
by God's help,
to overcome one's own will,
that is to cast away from oneself inordinate love or strong feeling,
in other words so as to dare simply
to trust God completely in all one's needs,
by this very fact
one becomes so pleasing to God
that his grace is imparted to one,
and through that very grace
one experiences that true love and devotion
which drives out all uncertainty and fear and has full confidence in God.
What is more,
there can be no greater happiness than
to place one's all in him who lacks nothing."

"When we won't let ourselves be held in the midst of our messes by God who loves us and made us, we miss the unspeakable joy of knowing that we are truly His beloved."
  - Deborah Newman
This brought to mind the original Twelve Steps, published by Alcoholics Anonymous*:
  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
There is a fascinating chapter in the Big Book called "We Agnostics." All I can say about it is, Wow. I have friends who are in the Program, and it has worked wonders in their lives. I am in awe of, and thankful for, the contribution of AA in our society. If you, or anyone you know, has need of the kind of help which is generously offered in Alcoholics Anonymous, please follow this link.

*Source: Wikipedia: Alcoholics Anonymous (June 2001). "Chapter 5: How It Works" (PDF). Alcoholics Anonymous (4th ed.). Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. ISBN 1893007162. OCLC 32014950.


Allegra Smith said...

Perfect for this morning with nice sunshine, and some stirring of Spring in the paper tree. What I mean is HOPE, yes, all in caps. HOPE for those who are lost in the maze of to some of us nearly incomprehensible lives, but they persevere and pull themselves from the dark and as I call QuanYin my strength, I know that hope must be theirs to persevere.

I am too very thankful for AA work where society some times gives up on those who need help the most.

Karen said...

I am with you on that. AA is an amazing organization, and the truths outlined in the steps are good for all of us, addicts or not. We are powerless, aren't we. It takes a while of living to realize it, but once there, and having turned our lives over to the only true power in the universe, it's a place of peace and rest.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Did someone tell you about all the wine I consumed last night? Kidding.
I've never read the 12 steps before....very cool. I love that GOD is mentioned so much in this act of recovery!
With him, anything is possible.