The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mystery and manner

"My mother and my brothers are those
who hear the word of God and act on it."
Luke 8:21

As Catholics, we profess and strive to live an incarnational spirituality. The world has sacramental character. Every thing, every person and every circumstance somehow fit together in God's universal plan of salvation--though, surely, at times redemption may seem improbable or impossible.

But nothing is impossible for God, and so by faith we regularly come to him in Word and Sacrament to be fed for this journey of "mystery through manners, grace through nature," to borrow a famous phrase from author Flannery O'Connor. It is a work in progress.

In this light, I have been struck by the words of the closing prayer being used at Mass each day this week (below). It is worth reflecting on how God's grace molds and shapes us so that we can, in turn, incarnate that grace in the world around us--with the understanding, of course, that manner will never outpace mystery. After all, as St. Paul said, we hold this treasure in earthen vessels.

Graciously raise up, O Lord,
those you renew with this Sacrament,
that we may come to possess your redemption
both in mystery and in the manner of our life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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