For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”) —in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Let’s pay attention today to Paul’s comment in Romans: “All depends on faith, everything is a grace.” These autumn days in the last quarter of the year invite reflection and perspective: as I look back on my experiences of the past summer and early fall, what are some specific graces I have discovered? Perhaps something very unexpected, or a moment of satisfaction within my ordinary routine? Maybe an event within my family, or the grace of a new or perhaps re-kindled relationship? Maybe even the quiet invitation of our God to “accept” or to “grow” or to “stretch” in some small or large way?
The passage then turns the gift of hope, which strengthened Abraham’s belief, enabling him to accomplish far more than he ever thought possible. Where is my “hope” today? Can I trust that God is really “in charge and on the job,” even as I make decisions and engage others to accomplish my daily tasks, as well as to care for my family and loved ones, neighbors and community?
—The Jesuit prayer team
Living God—stand by me. Hold me up.
Be my strength when I am tired, my inspiration when I am bored,
my life when I am listless.
Living God—I cannot always meet the standard
expected of me, cannot always be
the personality I am known for.
Abba when I fail, Abba when I stumble—
Stand by me.
—Edwina Gately, in For You, O God: Prayers and Reflections, © 1998, Loyola University Chicago