In the message of February 25, 2001, Our Lady says:
… This is a time of grace.
That is why pray, pray, pray until you comprehend God’s love for each of you. …
The meaning of the word
The Greek word charis, meaning grace, is not of Christian origin: it can be found in the Old Testament, but it finds it’s full meaning only in the New Testament. This words signifies the newness that comes with Jesus Christ: the Old Testament was a time of the Law, and the New Testament is the time of grace (Romans 6,4s, John 1,17).
The grace is the gift of God containing all other gifts: The grace is Jesus Christ Himself (Romans 8,32). The grace is the gift radiating the generosity of the one who gives and enveloping with generosity the creature that receives it.
The Hebrew word hen signifies first of all, kindness - then the concrete expression of this kindness. The Greek word charis signifies first of all, the radiance of beauty - then the inner radiance of goodness, and finally the gifts that express them.
Grace in the Old Testament
God calls Himself “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity” (Exodus 34,6). The grace of God is the mercy that leans over the miserable (hen), the generous fidelity (hesed), the immovable solidity towards the engagement (emet), the tenderness of heart and attachment to those whom He loves (rahamim), and the endless justice (sedeq) capable to ensure to all creatures the fullness of their rights and to fulfill all their expectations. If God is peace and joy, this is the result of His grace: “How precious is your kindness, o God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They have their fill of the prime gifts of your house; from your delightful stream you give them to drink”… (Psalm 36,8ss), because “your kindness is a greater good than life” (Psalm 63,4). Life, the most precious of all goods, fades away facing the experience of the inexhaustible source of the generosity of God. The generosity of God is not without a goal. It does not pour out blindly its richness, not knowing what to do with it. The goal of the choice of God is the Covenant: the grace chooses, it gives itself, and is a sign of recognition – it attaches itself to the one it chooses, expects a response, recognition and love. The Book of the Deuteronomy speaks about it (Deuteronomy 6,5.12ss; 10,12ss; 11,1). The grace of God seeks partners, exchange, and communion.
The grace of God reveals itself in Jesus Christ
The coming of Jesus Christ shows how far the generosity of God can go: until giving us his Only begotten Son (Romans 8,32). The source of it is that combination of tenderness, fidelity and mercy through which Yahweh defines Himself, and in the New Testament which receives the specific name of charis, grace. Almost all apostolic letters begin by mentioning the grace of God, almost always accompanied by His peace, and shows that for Christians it is the highest of all gifts, a gift that contains all the action of God and all we can wish for our brothers.
In the person of Jesus Christ “grace and truth came” (John 1,17), we have seen Him (John 1,14) and so we have known God in his Only begotten Son (John 1,18). Looking at Jesus Christ, we have seen that “the grace of God has appeared, saving all” (Titus 2,11; 3,4).
The fecundity of grace
“The grace of God is not ineffective” (1 Corinthians 15,10). It leads faith into works (1 Thessalonians 1,3; Galatians 5,6) and brings fruit (Colossians 1,10) in good works “that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them” (Ephesians 2,10). For the apostles, the grace is an inexhaustible source of efficiency (Acts of the apostles 14,26; 15,40); it makes out of Paul what he is, it does in him whatever he does (1 Corinthians 15,10), so that what is most personal in him, “what he is”, is precisely the work of this grace.
Because the grace of God is the principle for transformation and for action, it demands a permanent collaboration. “Therefore, since we have this ministry, through the mercy shown us, we are not discouraged.” (2 Corinthians 4,1), always “in the grace of God” (1,12), ready to listen to it (Romans 15,15). We are never deprived of the grace, it is always “sufficient”, even in most difficult moments, because then it’s power is manifested (2 Corinthians 12,9).
This is how the grace brings a birth to a new life (John 3,3ss), the life of the Spirit that animates the children of God (Romans 8,14-17). According to St Paul, the Christian is “called by the grace of Christ” (Galatians 1,6), he “stands in this grace” (Romans 5,2), he lives under it’s rule (5,21; 6,14). This is life in full sense of the word, the life of those who “risen from the dead” live a new life with the risen Christ (Romans 6,18.104.22.168).
This experience of life is the experience of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6,14; 7,6). Man, freed from sin brings forth the fruits of sanctification (6,22; 7,4). The Holy Spirit, the most excellent gift of God (Acts 8,20; 11,17) “bears itself witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8,16), that grace truly makes us the children of God, who can call God Father: Abba. This is the justification that comes by grace (Romans 3,23s): before God we can be what he expects us to be, sons and daughters in front of the Father (Romans 8,14-17; 1 John 3,1s).
Finding in the grace of God the source of all his works, the Christian finds a correct attitude towards all, he lives an authentic pride without seeking his glory in possessions, but in the fact that he has received all by grace: justice before all. Pride and grace: Paul likes to link these two words together (Romans 4,2s; 5,2s; 2 Corinthians 12,9; Ephesians 1,6).
In the grace of God, man can be what he is.