The Church teaches that “Grace is favor, the free undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call and become his adopted children; partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life…Grace is the participation in the life of God. (Catechism, 1996, 1997; p 483)
If everything that is seen and unseen was created from the primal-atom and the inflation that followed; with nothing before it save the Creator, it would not be too difficult to describe grace as the original gift of God in the fabric of creation itself.
That is, the discriminate, forward motion from presumed chaos, with just the right evolutionary outcomes producing the cosmos, as far as we know it, including the eventuality of life.
That “undeserved help” called the teleological argument in theology, is the basis for the Intelligent Design hypothesis, and, indeed, for the Natural Selection theory in so called Evolution. What more participation could we imagine in the “life of God” than being a direct and immediate result of grand scale creation by our Father, God.
John the Evangelist put it this way:
In the beginning was the Word:
the Word was with God and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came into being,
not one thing came into being except through him.
What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men;
and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it.
It seems to me that the “life that was the light of men” is the Spirit of God as the giver of life and the life in Christ Jesus as well. This was the light that illuminated all darkness, the nothingness of non-being. The Spirit that overshadowed Mary, “the power of the Most High”, the impetus for the Incarnation, what brought God to man as man, for man.
No one participated more directly in the life of God than Mary; her body gave Jesus form and substance, nourishment and strength.
“Rejoice” the angel had told her,
“you who enjoy God’s favor! the Lord is with you.”
Calming her anxiety, he said once again,
“Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor.”
This was to begin the chain of earth shattering events culminating in the Resurrection; the concrete sign and true reality of Christ’s salvific mission for all mankind.
John continues with his prologue:
The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone; he was coming into the world that had come into being through him, and the world did not recognize him.
He came to his own and his own people did not accept him.
The “real” light, the Word of God, was now among us teaching in real time the will of the Father.
“But”, John continues, “to those who did accept him he gave the power to become children of God”…
Isn’t it here where John is showing that the grace of God, our favor, our freedom, that which shows how we are made in the image of God is intact, and how the choice is always ours to accept or reject–even God? The gifts of the Spirit in us are subject to our own free will, the Imago Dei in us. Further, John says:
…to those who believed in his name who were born not from human stock or from human desire or human will but from God himself…
That would be, at least from my viewpoint, out of the loving will of God in creation.
We would eventually recognize our freedom when coming of age, as a child comes of age, at a given time in evolutionary history when we saw ourselves as selves. When meaning came to the brain as mind, and the unity of body and mind, soul. John concludes:
The Word became flesh, and lived among us, we saw his glory that he has from the Father, full of (grace) and truth.
“Truth is a person!”, and the grace of God, through Christ, steadily flows in us, if we are tuned in.
Sunday, The Conversion of St. Paul, The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time