Grace of Yes Book Club: The Grace of Belief, Chapter 1
Welcome to the first-annual Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club! We’re reading The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living by Lisa Hendey.
By Judy Landrieu Klein
“Nashville brought my first real encounter with spiritual doubt,” writes author Lisa Hendey in Chapter One of the The Grace of Yes, entitled “The Grace of Belief.” Lisa goes on to say that it was during her post-college experience with spiritual doubt that her “yes” to God became her own for the first time in her life.
Each of us encounters a moment in life where our “yes” to God must become our own. Like Lisa, I was born and raised Catholic in a largely Catholic city, New Orleans. And like Lisa, I encountered spiritual doubt in young adulthood, doubt that would end in my self-proclamation as an agnostic and a complete falling away from any practice of the Catholic faith. Moving toward atheism, I vividly remember the agony I experienced after arriving at the conclusion that I wasn’t sure if God existed. “God, are you real?” I began to pray. As the years passed, my prayer became bolder: “God, if you are real, then show me!” I demanded.
God, in His great mercy, dramatically answered my prayer. It happened when my cousin’s cousin, who was jogging by my apartment, ran into my sister out front, and she invited him in to say hello. Visibly changed from the last time I had seen him, I had to ask, “Kent, what happened to you? Why do you look so different?”
“I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior,” he said. “He’s totally changed my life.” Though also raised Catholic, Kent invited me to go with him to the little evangelical church that he had been attending on Tulane University’s campus. The rest, as they say, is history.
Kent picked me up for the service on Sunday morning, and upon the pastor’s invitation, I surrendered my life to Christ. Amazingly, in one split second, everything changed. I moved from: “I don’t know if God exists,” to: “I know that God exists, that He loves me personally and that He has a plan and a purpose for my life.” It was a transformative experience that opened up a new trajectory for my life—the path of personal, living faith in God. I now understand it as the moment that my Baptism as a Catholic infant finally “took.” Though I spent five years in an evangelical Christian church, I eventually made my way back home to the Catholic Church, where my faith journey had originally begun.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines faith as both a gift from God and a human act (paragraphs 153-154). Most of us receive the gift of faith as infants, whereupon God infuses the supernatural virtue of faith into our souls in the Sacrament of Baptism. But belief is also “an authentically human act,” an act that consists in the total self-surrender of the human person, through grace, to the living God. While most of us received the gift of faith as infants, mature conversion demands that we give our assent to God with our whole being, a response that God pursues relentlessly and awaits patiently. Such surrender generally occurs when we are adults, when we are ready and able to choose to give our selves and our lives to the God who knows us, loves us and desires to be in relationship with us.
While we often see people “leave” the Catholic Church to “find” God, this need not be so. Lisa Hendey’s book, The Grace of Yes, is a perfect tool to open the dialogue with baptized Catholics about making an adult decision to give themselves and their lives to Christ, saying “yes” to Him in deeper, and perhaps altogether new, ways. Read it! Share it! And invite others to come along on the journey of faith in Christ through The Grace of Yes.
To Ponder, Reflect and Discuss:
- Have I made an adult decision to give my life to Christ, holding nothing back?
- Have I invited others to come along on the journey with me, looking for opportunities to invite them to deepen their faith and come to a greater love of Christ?
Please comment on your thoughts from Chapter 1, your inspirations and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.
About the Author:
Judy Landrieu Klein, a mother and grandmother, is an author, inspirational speaker, widow–and newlywed! Her book, Miracle Man, which has been an Amazon Kindle Bestseller in Catholicism, chronicles her late husband’s near death experience and deathbed conversion. A Catholic theologian, Judy speaks about cultivating HOPE in our brokenness. Her blog, Holy Hope, can be found at MemorareMinistries.com.
Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 2: The Grace of Generativity. For the complete reading schedule and information about our online book club, visit the Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club page.
WINE thanks Ave Maria Press for supporting our Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club. Specifically, thank you to Heather Glenn and her team for their marketing expertise.
Order your copy of The Grace of Yes, at St. George’s Books & Gifts. Free shipping on orders of $30 or more, and WINE will receive 10% of your order to support our evangelization efforts.
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