THURSDAY DAY 18
Scripture Reading: Romans 6:14
A young man once asked in our Bible Studies, why is it that people are no longer fallen down dead in the church as it was in the old testaments and in the case of the early church? It is grace that makes the difference. But the aspect of grace that is our focus today is freedom from sin. If you have taken time to go through the cover article in the two previous editions of this devotional, written by Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Anthony Mario Ozele, you would have discovered the amazing power of God’s grace. Anyway, Grace is the unmerited favour of God to man. It is the favour God has given you, which makes you an adopted child of God and the access to his blessings. It means the result of Christs’ death which through his power now enables you to live as a true child of God in holiness and saved from the destruction that awaits sinners.
When you take your time to go through the entire chapter of Romans 6, you realize that God has given you the ability to live a righteous life which ordinarily you would not have been able to do. Grace is the covering that shields you from danger, sin and evil, not because you deserved it, but because someone is standing on your behalf. In the old testament with all the laws and ordinances, it was difficult for man to please God, and the failure to adhere to every instruction resulted in death or punishment. Since man could not reach out to God through the laws and ordinances, God decided to come to man. This is what grace is. Grace is the honour God placed on you as his child. People may label you a sinner, the worst of sinners, one who deserves death etc, but it is grace that draws the sinner to God. Not because he deserved it, but because God offered it freely to the sinner. Hear St. Alphonsus, “When God wants to enrich a soul with grace, he first enriches it with confidence.” Sometimes you think the life you now live is because you have worked hard for it, no! You are what you are because of grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 captures this clearly, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, so that no one can boast.” Stop thinking about how holy you are and how wretched that person is. Your freedom from sin is a product of grace not your effort!
When you consider how wicked you were, your unforgiving nature, the tendency to feel important, your immoral behavior and the difference the grace of God has made in your life, you would realize that truly, it is God that saved you from all these vices. This power that saved you is able to sustain you in righteousness if you hold unto Him. Don’t say we are in the dispensation of grace and use it as an opportunity to indulge in sin, no. For if you behave in this manner, it means you do not value the grace of God. To live in the grace of God means to continually appreciate what God has done for you by living your life wholly for Him. It is then that grace becomes more meaningful. St. Clare concludes today’s reflection with this beautiful prayer, “Dispose of me as you please; I am yours by being consecrated my will to God. It is no longer my own.”
- Take a worship song as you are led
- Lord, grant me the grace never to glance at what is good in me much less ponder over it; rather grant me the grace to offer all praise and adoration to you
- Take this prayer of St. Nicholas de Flue seriously, “O my Lord and my God, take from me all that keeps me from you! O my Lord and my God, give me all that brings me nearer to you! O Lord my God, take myself from me and let me possess only you.”
- I renounce my self-righteousness and take hold of God’s righteousness in the name of Jesus Christ
- O Lord grant me the grace of diligence in service to the poor, love for them, honour them and also great love for you my Saviour
- In your love O Lord God of mercy, look with pity on us sinners and draws us swiftly to your son Jesus Christ
Exercise: Spend sometime today before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament
Memory Verse: Roman 6:14