Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Year of Grace

This year, from Pentecost 2012 to Pentecost 2013, has been announced as a Year of Grace by the Bishops of Australia – as such, it is an opportunity for us as Catholics to fix our eyes afresh on Christ. The national prayer, formulated by the Australian Conference of Bishops for this Year of Grace runs as follows:

Gracious God,
You have blessed this ancient land with many gifts, especially its people.
We thank you for the Year of Grace, a time to start afresh from Christ.
You invite us to contemplate the face of Jesus your Son, that we may experience a new wave of grace, and that the light of Christ may burn more brightly in our lives.
Attune our hearts and minds to the presence of your Holy Spirit, that our Church may be transformed, our relationships be healed, and our nation grow in compassion and justice.
With the intercession of St Mary MacKillop, who showed us new ways of living the Gospel, we make our prayer through Christ our Lord. AMEN.

This prayer reminds us that in order “to start afresh from Christ”, we must “contemplate the face of Jesus”. There are many ways that we can do this. We can spend time “contemplating the face of Jesus” in the vast treasure of the Church’s Icons, including the Pantocrator (the oldest known icon, believed by many to be the true face of Jesus). Or like Blessed Mother Teresa, we can contemplate the face of Jesus in the poor, as we allow ourselves to be God’s channel of grace to them.
There are so many ways that we can accomplish “contemplating the face of Jesus”, but one of the primary ways that we can do so during this Year of Grace would be to spend time with Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. This is a belief that was promulgated by the Blessed Pope John Paul II, who himself said:
“The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace. A Christian community desirous of contemplating the face of Christ cannot fail also to develop this aspect of Eucharistic worship, which prolongs and increases the fruits of our communion in the body and blood of the Lord.” – Ecclessia de Eucharistia, 2003

So, one of the surest ways of obtaining the fullest benefit of this Year of Grace would be to develop our devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament. Many parishes have at least some time set aside for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, with other parishes honouring Christ in Perpetual Adoration (24 hours a day; 7 days a week).
In our own parish, we have been blessed enough to have a Chapel dedicated for the purpose of Eucharistic Adoration. So, why not make a special commitment to the Lord by dedicating an hour each week to adoring Him in the Blessed Sacrament? Try it and you will see that it will not be long before you start experiencing the grace of God at work in your life. Just as you can’t spend time in the sun without it having a visible effect on your skin; so too, you cannot spend time with the Son of God and not be changed. Persevere in Eucharistic Adoration, and it will change your life.


  1. Greetings Justin, and Welcome Home !

    For the Year of Grace in our parish we are having a study group to contemplate the face of Christ in the Gospel of St Mark, and also to share how God's Grace has been active in our lives past and present. After each session we are putting discussion summaries online at

    You might find it interesting because most of the study group members have been active Catholics for several decades. We are also doing a weekly segment on Sources of Grace, all of those Catholic sacramentals that someone coming into the Church from outside often takes a long time to comprehend.

    (How far away are you from Glendalough parish?)

    1. Hi Catherine

      That's fantastic!

      We are in the Ocean Reef Parish (St. Simon Peter).

      I'll certainly keep an eye on the discussion summaries - sounds like it will be very interesting.

      God bless