Special graces

bernadette_roberts_280This is my interpretation of spiritual experiences or special graces: Those to whom more is given, more will be expected – meaning, grace is shoring us up for what is down the road.  I was always skeptical of special graces because the generosity they elicit seems to gear us up for some trial ahead.  Special graces make us fearless and reckless in giving all and doing all. That way when God actually takes all, at least we can say we asked for it, and there is some comfort in that.

In other words, there seems to be a proportionality between special graces and trials, not merely in their number but also in depth: the more profound the grace – the more profound the trial.  The paradox is that it is during the trials that we do the real growing, expanding, giving, and losing yet more of self.  A time of grace is not really a time of growth.  As John of the Cross wrote, we are the receivers of grace, but we are the givers in times of trial or hardship, giving of self and losing self.  And we could not give all, or have the necessary strength, confidence and endurance, if we had not first been strengthened by some special grace.  So the graces we receive will be put to the test because grace is the herald of growth.  This is the way it seems to go. — Bernadette Roberts, Personal Letter, 1988

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