Thomas Aquinas said that Faith is a gift of Grace from God. This was a great consolation to me during my atheist and agnostic days in college because I could go around telling everyone that I simply hadn't received my gift yet.
All joking aside, receiving grace is at one and the same time the easiest and the hardest thing to do. (Someday I hope to understand why God always deals in paradox). No one can ever be turned away from receiving God's gifts, but to get them you have to ask him for the gift of grace, which requires, among other things a willingness to suspend your own disbelief, doubt, and mistrust. Essentially it requires that we check our ego at the door and admit that there are things that we simply cannot provide for ourselves.
Many people cannot do this, and many others who think that they have don't understand what it means to check their ego at the door (think Ted Haggard, Pat Robertson, Falwell, and many of their parishoners). I think that a good sign that you are following the true path is that you continue to wrestle and struggle with your own doubts, fears, and anger all along the way. (This of course means that I am on the right path, since I continue to approach God, be disappointed by his people or his church, and walk away again in confusion. Go me!)
I think as survivors each of us bring a different perspective to this question of grace. (You listening Fighting Scot?) I still really struggle with the idea that a child should ever have to ask their parent for the things they have a right to expect. No child should have to ask for love, protection, and nurturing from their parents, and yet that seems to be exactly what I understand the lessons of Christianity to be. Perhaps someone out there has better insight into this that me.
Edited by tartugas (03/24/07 09:12 PM)
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence