OK, we’ve seen and heard as much as we can tolerate of Fifty Shades of Grey. To be at least moderately knowledgeable (which in some things I prefer not to be!), I perused a few internet reviews about the book and movie, just to see what other people were saying. Most people are saying, “Don’t waste your time or money on poor writing, poor dialogue, poor plot, etc., etc. Nothing “grey” about it, no gray area in it, no question of it being sick or healthy. It’s definitely not healthy! Fortunately most people agree. One good thing about the book/movie: It provides us Christians with an occasion for taking a public stand on sexual morality. What an opportunity to bring about something good out of the trash! Here’s a great link if you haven’t seen it yet: http://www.teresatomeo.com/479-this-didnt-take-very-long.html. Teresa Tomeo is a solid Catholic writer, speaker, and blogger. She also has links to other articles and interviews which will help us express our Catholic Christian values.
So what about Fifty Shades of Grace?
God’s grace — the pre-eminent gift of God — if it could be seen, would come in unimaginable colors — far more than fifty, and none of them at all akin to a gloomy gray! God’s grace is brilliant! God’s grace is Sonshiny! Even before the “two great lights” were created, the sun and the moon (which are never actually named in the Book of Genesis), God said, “Let there be light!” When God’s love — God’s “grace” — shines on us, we have to shield our eyes. (That must be why God shares his son Jesus with us: he “looks like” us, and in fact is one of us! We can look upon him and not have to shield our eyes. After all, Jesus does say he is the Light of the World! John 8:12)
God’s grace feels like overwhelming love. Sent out by the Father and Son, caught personally by each one of us, is somewhat like a loving father playing catch with his youngster! Standing in the light of God’s love, we can feel the warmth of God’s Spirit. That may have been why Moses’ face shone when he conversed with God. No wonder! (Ex 34:35) Perhaps it was sun/Son burn!
Is there any one of us who hasn’t experienced God’s grace? Maybe we didn’t realize it at the time. It could have been a gorgeous sunset. Maybe it was the birth of a baby, or “just” a deep realization that God loved us!
To quote myself in a former post, “I learned that Jesus does meet us personally where we are, and He does give us the grace and opportunities–amazing opportunities–to change, no matter who we are or where we have been, or whatever evil, sorrow or despair we might have experienced. I’ve learned personally the meaning of the simple song that starts, “JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW…!’”
That was God’s grace at work; God’s love is God’s Grace! It’s hard to feel “grace” but it’s a tangible thing to experience Love. It feels like a warm hug! A God Hug! It’s real, and it’s watershed memorable!
So, here’s this woman again, having just delivered a baby girl, placed her for adoption, with papers signed, court appearance done, and starting a new job in a new area, new people, new apartment, new “me.” Singular. It was like waking from a strange dream.
So why did I feel so empty? I felt somewhat like the lump of clay that God uses in Jeremiah 18:1-6, where the Potter “tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.” I developed many relationships with parish members and new friends, several of whom were members of the charismatic prayer community that I discovered at “St. Mary’s.” These men, women, and families included a number of single adults, many of whom have become lifelong friends. Over the years, from the mid ’70s to the present time, I have experienced healing and a tremendous amount of personal growth. God’s mercy and grace was a slow-growing force in my life, one that was far more tolerable and lasting than even the quickly growing baby in my womb.
One of the greatest marvels and gifts of grace that I’ve received from the Lord is my husband, “Gabe,” who was one of this number of single adults. At first we had no personal interest in each other, but as I saw his kindness, faithfulness, generosity, and his servant’s heart, I was impressed with his character. At one point, at the rehearsal dinner before the wedding of friends, I commented to him that he would make a good husband for someone. I was certainly correct, although I hadn’t intended that someone to be me!
Our courtship that began in January 1981 was like nothing I had ever experienced. We chose to limit our affections to less than holding hands. We spent a lot of time together and wrote many letters, but by March that year, we decided, to my chagrin, that we were to “give each other up for Lent.” If it had been only Gabe’s decision, it would have been more difficult, but in prayer, I knew that this was something that Jesus was demanding of us. The struggles of seeing “a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11) dashed to oblivion and later restored and purified was another of God’s gifts of mercy. Gabe finally asked me to marry him (ah, breathe again!!) and we were engaged in October, 1981, and married in April, 1982. The “giving and receiving back” prepared me for the discovery in 1983 that we would be unable to have our own biological children. Oh, the thoughts I had about our loving and merciful God…..!! But that is a story for another day.
Where are you in your life today? Has the Lord been molding you? Or are you “molding”? Lent is a time for new life! Time to clean the ‘fridge’ of your life, if it hasn’t been cleaned for a while!!
One great opportunity for spiritual growth is the app “Laudate,” which has been mentioned before, and which is available for Android and for Kindle Fire. It’s free! […and it’s pronounced “lau-dah-tay,” which is Latin for “praise.”]
In the meanwhile, please pray with us! The needs of God’s people are numerous and significant. All things can be obtained by asking; nothing is impossible with God!
Lord Jesus, bring about an end to bloodshed throughout the world. Lead all people to know you, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Teach all people your forgiveness and keep us from revenge. Give courage and faith to those who are called to give their lives for your Name. Give hope and joy to those who have lost home, property and loved ones, that those who persecute would be converted.
Lord Jesus, please bring about an end to abortion, the shedding of blood of so many unborn brothers and sisters. Show your mercy and love to those mothers who now regret their choices. Help us to delight in and protect all human life from conception to natural death.
Lord Jesus, give us wisdom in the use of our sexuality, that we might honor the dignity of men and women. Help us to spread the beauty of our Father’s gifts and the plans that he has for us, for good and not for evil.
Lord Jesus, give wisdom to all those who need healing from sexual addictions, especially pornography. Help the good news of RECLAiM Sexual Health to be spread to all who need healing and health.
Lord Jesus, help those who grieve the loss of children due to miscarriage, infant death or infertility. Protect those who are pregnant; give to these and all mothers and fathers the wisdom and help they need to raise their children in healthy and holy families.
Lord Jesus, please bless the work of Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM Sexual Health with the financial means to serve you and your people.
ALL THESE BLESSINGS, WE ASK IN YOUR GENEROUS AND MERCIFUL NAME,
photo courtesy of abcdz2000