Cooperate with gift of grace, exhorts Cardinal George

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago gives the homily during Mass at the K of C Supreme Convention in San Antonio TX on August 7 2013 Credit Knights of Columbus CNA 8 7 13 Cardinal Francis George of Chicago gives the homily during Mass at the K of C Supreme Convention in San Antonio, TX on August 7, 2013. | Knights of Columbus.

Through the "miracle of grace," the faithful are able to be vessels for God's will, overcoming their earthly desires while being truly themselves, said Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, Ill.

He explained that the contrast of sin and grace exists within each human person, and we must seek to "have deep desires" that move beyond our worldly inclinations and towards the eternal.

"We must pray for the desire deeply, so that what God desires, so much so that he sent his only son as our savior, will be our desire as well."

Cardinal George delivered the homily during Mass on August 7, the second day of the Knights of Columbus 2013 Supreme Convention, which was held in San Antonio.

He began his homily quoting a poem about the difference in the responses of Eve and Mary to what God asked them, contrasting the "fatal apple" with the "fatal tomb."

"The contrast between fatal apple and fatal tomb, between Eve and Mary, the contrast between sin and grace is something whose consequences are revealed for the first time as the Lord, who had been Adam's friend, questions him, and reveals to Adam himself that his desire to be free was apart from God's ways."

Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day, the cardinal said that we – like Adam – experience distorted desires. As we struggle to cope with them, we should "contemplate the wonder of God's grace," as well as "the gift of his very life in the blessed Virgin Mary, and also in ourselves."

Once we have received the gift of grace, he explained, we "truly cooperate with God," and "we are truly ourselves," making it possible for God to use us "in such a way that his will for the world be done."

"This is the great miracle of grace," he said.

Cardinal George then emphasized that when miracles happen, they "reveal God's ways," as much as sin reveals "the distortion of desire." In a miracle, we are able to see the world "as God would have it be," and as it would have been if Adam and Eve had not sinned, forgetting their original freedom.

"In visible miracles, we see how matter obeys," he noted, stating that there is a curtain, a veil, which separates humanity "clumsily" from God, and that when it opens, we are able to see in a physical miracle a world "without disease," where "the lion and the lamb can lie down together."

But the miracles which are "far greater," he expressed, are the ones in which "the human will is contained," as exemplified by the Blessed Virgin Mary.

"In her there were no obstacles to God's ways…she was full of grace."

In the Gospel, he said, we are able to "marvel again at how beautiful she is," how her every thought, word and action were "spirit-filled."

We seek to follow in the path of our mother, he continued. In Baptism, "we take into our very being God's own relationship with the Son." And there are many times in our lives that  "the creativity of love" works in ways that we do not understand, but which "are enough for us to follow," so that we can "constantly and joyfully live in the hope that we too are chosen and predestined to live forever with God and his saints."

"Here we are protectors of God's gifts," he said, and "the most important of those gifts is the gift of grace."

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