Saving grace. That grace which lifts up a poor, broken, downtrodden soul, a soul burdened by sin and by guilt, a soul that at some times desires nothing more but the end of existence, of feeling, of conscious thought, a soul that desires the mountains to fall upon him to hide his crimes from God… the grace which lifts up this soul, comforts him, heals him, nourishes him, succors him, plants in him seeds of an unshakeable, unquenchable faith, gives him joy where once was pain, gives him hope where once there was despair, which makes him into more than the fallen, lost being he was, which makes him into a Man, which makes him into a Saint, which makes him into a Son of the Living God. That is saving grace.
I walk along a sidewalk, glistening from a recent rain, and enjoy the beauty of the world around me. The trees sway slightly in the breeze, nodding to the rhythm of a song that I cannot hear. Birds chirp in the trees, joy made music, calling to one another and perhaps just to me. In the distance I see a mother and her child, walking up to their front door; the child reaches for his mother’s hand, instinctively, a motion he has made thousands of times before. The sun, temporarily hidden behind a cloud, bursts forth in light and glory and wonder, and I cannot help the smile that comes to my lips, the feeling of joy sharp as a knife, gentle as a cloud, and bright as the son whose light I live in.
Special thanks to Brian Doyle, who wrote an essay entitled “Gracenotes;” little anecdotes, observations, biographies and thoughts related to grace. The idea for this essay was that it could be pulled from his (much longer) essay.
Also, special thanks to Alma the Younger, who gives me a fantastic example of what saving grace is, and of living by grace.