Miracle vs. grace

You pray (a) for the simplest grace, almost as an afterthought, and (b) for the greatest miracle of healing the world has ever seen. You get both.

(b) is immeasurably more amazing. Everyone is struck dumb, the enemies of the faith are silenced, you’re overwhelmed by the divine reality, and give thanks for the rest of your life.

(a) is forgotten almost a soon as granted. You may not even remember asking for it by the time it comes. In your heart, you treat this as one more religious routine like one might have in any other religion. You pray for unconfirmable “spiritual” stuff and vague, unconfirmable spiritual stuff “happens.”

But what if grace is real? What if what you’re asking for in this smallest increase or exercise of sanctifying grace is to partake in the divine nature, to demand that God work for your glorification as necessarily as he works for his own, to demand a gift in virtue of which you merit to have all your thoughts replaced by the divine essence itself so that you might live in participated eternity… What if what you’re asking for is the seed of a divine life which, even in this life, is ordered to the ecstasy of transforming union?

And don’t forget you want a divine life. You’re asking to be elevated above the entire natural order, both human and angelic. You want to get a good not just higher than anything in the universe, but higher than all put together. You want to see an object that not even the seraphs or cherubim saw in the perfection of their evening knowledge. You want to understand the universe in virtue of an insight infinitely beyond what even the most intelligent physicist could learn if given infinite time and the best possible institution to learn from and live in.

Seen from this angle, you ask for incomparably less in (b).

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