As our journey with the Graces concludes this week, I am inviting you to consider the meaning of Grace in your own life. For instance, when we first embarked on our trip last year, some of my visitors were a bit dubious, since the idea of Grace has become so closely associated with the tenets of Christianity.
It is true that the Christians have a lot to say about Grace, specifically about being saved by it. That’s logical, since their core beliefs assert that humanity is evil, unless “saved” by the grace of their father/son God.
In fact, the early Christian theologians, educated in Greece and Rome, appear to have changed the gifts of the more ancient Goddesses Aglaia (Splendor, Radiance), Euphrosyne (Festivity, Cheerfulness), and Thalia (Blooming, Flowering, Joy) into a construct that became synonymous with the rescue mission of their God who became incarnate.
Although with untold hundreds of variations and subtle nuances, Christian Grace has basically come to mean that man is given redemption from his wicked nature, not based on merit, but on the love and forgiveness of God. (Never mind that this same God rigged the very system that resulted in man’s nature being basically corrupt.)
As Pagans and Witches, we generally don’t believe we need our souls to be rescued, since we believe the Earth is Herself Divine, and we are a part of Her, not separate, or “fallen.” Hell, eternal damnation, and other infinite punishments do not exist in our beliefs. Nor do we start with a presumption that people are born bad, until initiated (or baptized) into the faith.
So, if we don’t see ourselves as broken, we don’t need to be fixed. And if we don’t need to be rescued from our own identity, why might Grace matter to us?
Our Greek ancestors, and later the Romans, always, without fail, invoked the Graces before every meal, festival, or other gathering. Their presence assured harmony and blessings. I like the idea that Grace is a combination of the gifts from the three original Graces, and is given for the sole reason, simply, that we have asked for it.
Must we know for certain what we need at all times? Do we dare to ask for blessings we are not sure we deserve?
I believe that asking for Grace is an act of supreme awareness. It is an affirmation that we know we are a part of a loving, wise, Divine Being. Asking for Grace means that the Divine One(s) will fill in the gaps that we may not be consciously aware of, support us in invisible ways we cannot ourselves anticipate, and know our hearts more clearly than we may understand them.
We ask in perfect love. We receive in perfect trust.
And this is our saving Grace.