Friday, April 8, 2011

Signal Graces

I recently read the book "Flight of Faith" by Frederick Berretta, one of the survivors from Flight 1549, which was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River, after being severely damaged by a bird strike. I was pleasantly surprised by it. It is not a long book - at 140 pages, it is easily read in an evening, if not in a single sitting. It details the author's growth and development in his Catholic Faith, culminating in that life-changing flight, and the impact it had on him spiritually. The writing, for the most part is crisp and to the point. There is not sentimentality here, just simplicity and sincerity. It is not deep, but it is thoughtful, and it encourages you to be the same. If Mr. Berretta takes a little bit too long to wrap up the book, it is because he does have a genuine point to make in his writing, and wants to be sure that he put that point across as well as he is able.

One of the things that made the biggest impression on me, however, was a paragraph mentioning the promises attached to the praying of the Rosary - particularly the first promise:"Whosoever shall serve me by faithful recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces". Now, the Rosary is an important part of the day for my family. We were brought up with it, and we prayed it as a family. I also was, at least, passingly familiar with the 15 promises attached to it. I could not recite them for you, or anything like that, but I have read them before, and know that the Rosary is a well-spring of graces. I must confess, however, that I have never really thought about those promises, and it never occurred to me to wonder what, exactly, a signal grace is. I think, up until now, if I considered that particular wording at all, I interpreted it as singular graces. Rather shocked by my lack of understanding, I looked it up, and discovered that a signal grace is a very specific sort of grace. It is a special grace that allows you to know God's will for you, that gives you a sharp nudge, so to speak in the right direction. Sometimes they come in the forms of 'signs' after you have prayed for an intention. Sometimes, they are just a strong guiding feeling that serves almost like a sign-post for your life. They are special graces that help sanctify you in your duty of state.

It was almost like a revelation to me, because I know that I certainly have had some of those particular graces in my own life. There are several times, in particular, when a large and rather difficult decision was almost made for me, by a very strong sense of the Will of God for me at that particular moment, and I have, in fact, used that very phrase to describe it: it was like I had received a sign. Now, of course, the trick is to trust in God and Our Lady, who send those signal graces to me, and not go about second guessing myself all the time.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

That's actually pretty fascinating, Mahri. :)