Each day wakes with the dawn, runs through its course and disappears into eternity as the sun goes to sleep in our horizon. In the same way, we wake up from the sleep of the night, follow some determined rituals of the morning, go through the day structured with work or chores, and return home to wind down the day. This rhythm is the same whether one works in the night or in the morning. Interspersed within the structures of a day are emergencies or unforeseen events or unplanned situations that can completely upset the flow of the day. But in all this, we tend to forget that we are surrounded by grace, that Presence of God which often comes as renewed strength, insights, hope and a sense of being guided by an invisible hand. Indeed, we are constantly guided by God’s Spirit, protected by the Angels that shield us from more harm than we could ever see with our physical eyes! Our preoccupation with and immersion in the everyday chores can completely prevent us from looking up to see, like the apostles, that “It’s the Lord!” He truly is here, in this situation, in this moment, even as we carry out our daily duties.
We are surrounded by grace, by the presence of Our Lord, and guided always to look right or left, turn right or left or keep going straight, stay where we are or change direction! Grace can rupture our usual way of seeing, believing and living, and if we let it work its way through, grace surely will bring us to a life larger than we were living. The rupture can be chaotic and confusing, but as the scales of confusion gradually fall off, the new life carried by grace will be seen more clearly. At other times, God simply affirms the path in which we are by filling us with the grace of His consolation, in the form of deep peace and joy even in the midst of troubles or problems.
To see and recognize grace requires attentiveness to the Spirit of God that dwells within us, who tries to awaken us to see the presence of God hidden in the ordinary situations or encounters of our everyday life. This manner of seeing, we learn through the practice of prayerful silence and reflection, spiritual readings, and the nurturing of faith. These practices aim at purifying our spiritual sight so that we truly can see in faith what God is doing in our ordinary day to day activities.
The apostles recognized the Lord when they were fishing. They knew “It’s the Lord!” But before they realized it was the Lord, Jesus had asked them to cast their nets over the right side of their boat. They did not ask questions; they simply did what he asked them to do without knowing they were obeying their Lord. Why did they not ask questions? It seems to me that they had grown to be open to God, who acts in mysterious ways! Oftentimes, questions which come from the ego or from cynicism can block grace from accomplishing its mission at that particular moment. Their openness was the disposition needed for them to see truly that it was their Lord!
Grace comes in many ways: in new encounters, in joyful and life-giving relationships, in dissatisfaction with life, in sickness, in relationships that come to an end, in unplanned events and various forms of hunches that, when followed, could be life-changing. As we grow in our relationship with God, we learn also how to see and recognize the Lord when he visits us, for he visits us all the time. You will be amazed at how well you are surrounded by grace!