Dwelling in Grace

By Kate Noonan Glaser

As a lay Catholic minister and a spiritual director I wonder who and how I am called to be in the world. It is an elusive quest but nonetheless the quest that guides my life. Left to my own devices I stumble yet with some guidance and Grace I can often stumble upwards. The following lines from the New Living Translation of St. Paul guide me to becoming a better version of myself.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8

These three sentences helped keep me whole and grounded through many tumultuous times in my life. I practice reframing my thinking looking for what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. As Christians we are called to be in the world but not of the world. However, the world so thoroughly steeped in its worldliness, quite happily usurps my thoughts and actions.

I need a practice, a mantra, a way, to remove my thinking from judgement. Judgement impedes my clarity and when steeped in judgment I become a lesser version of myself. As a practicing Christian my prayer is to be a worker among workers, perhaps even the hands and feet of Christ. These are tall orders, made even more impossible to accomplish if I am sitting here in judgement. When you are pointing a finger in judgement there are three pointing back at you. From any perspective that is a lose- lose proposition. We have a better mission.

I am not only called to look at the good in others, but in myself as well. Through the exercise of acknowledging God’s grace, I am granted strength and inspiration. In this place I can and do extend myself to others. Furthermore, I can extend myself to others in a pure and true way, from my heart, without judgement or neediness, truly being of service and wanting nothing in return.

I believe when we observe the good in others we dwell in sacred space. It is in this place our souls sing inspired by the Holy Spirit and we are closer to the Divine. When we connect to the Divine, all things are possible. I become of utmost service to my fellow human in thought and deed.

My hope is you tuck these 3 sentences into your pocket. Grab them, even if it is symbolically, and put them in the forefront of your thinking. When- not if- When you are bothered, frustrated, tired and about to be your least kind self, remember to look at what is right, what is true, admirable, what is lovely and pure. Turn your focus to the grace-filled part of your path. Ask for the grace to reframe your thinking both inwardly and outwardly. Look for the good in your fellow person. After all, we are all on this messy path together.

Kate Noonan Glaser M.S.S. M.A.R. is a Spiritual Director and Former Pastoral Associate of St. Catherine of Siena and St. Agnes Parish.

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