| greɪs |
My favorite usage of this word would usually be the first definition below, smoothness and elegance of movement (as in one is a graceful dancer, one moves gracefully, etc.). But for the reflection on this week’s Word, I’d like to invite you to take a look at the third definition below.
As we observe this week’s celebrations in commemoration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ought to take a step back and contemplate the mystery of our faith. Thanks to the inherent, or original, state of sin in man (explained in the legend of Adam and Eve), we are by nature “tainted” and undeserving of eternal bliss in heaven with God. Yet God chose not to turn away from us, and make steps to draw us back towards Him, out of His great love for us, a love that we cannot fully comprehend, a love whose power is, literally, beyond anything we can imagine. This invitation has but one prerequisite: to accept that Jesus Christ is our Lord and personal Savior – and everything will follow.
Because of our sinful nature, we can never be qualified to live eternal life in heaven, no matter how much good works we do – if we do good works in themselves. Thus, as God offers His hand of friendship and love to us, only He can create and execute the condition of mercy and love for us to be able to stand a chance of eternal life with Him. This is what is called grace: an undeserved, yet free and user-friendly, gift from God, completely taken care of and done, and possible in the first place, only by Him.
Perhaps this is where the fourth definition comes from: an extension period granted as a special favor, mimicking God’s gift to us. We do not deserve any privilege, yet the executor of the law or condition chooses to grant us such, just like how God offers us His invitation of eternal life. And this is how the Latin word gratia becomes a word pertaining to thankfulness: our gratitude that God still chose to reach out to us despite our dreadful state.
Furthermore, gratia also means “pleasing” – derived, perhaps, from the Lord’s happiness with and love for us – hence leading to the first two definitions. Grace, therefore, is portrayed as an all-positive, joyful state – the joy we feel from being offered the gift of grace from God.
May you have a blessed and contemplative week ahead!
noun (mass noun)
- smoothness and elegance of movement
- courteous good will
- (“graces”) an attractively polite manner of behaving
- (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings
- [as a count noun] a divinely given talent or blessing
- the condition or fact of being favored by sb.
- a period officially allowed for payment of a sum due or for compliance with a law or condition, esp. an extended period granted as a special favor
- a short prayer of thanks said before or after a meal
- (“His…”, “Her…”, or “Your Grace”) used as forms of description or address for a duke, duchess, or archbishop
- (“the [Three] Graces” – in Greek mythology) three beautiful goddesses (Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne) believed to personify and bestow charm, grace, and beauty
verb (with obj. and adverbial)
- to bring honor or credit to sb. or sth. by one’s attendance or participation
- [with obj.] (of sb. or sth.) to be an attractive presence in or on; to adorn
Middle English, via Old French from Latin gratia, from gratus (“pleasing”, “thankful”). Related to grateful.
In other languages:
- Bahasa Indonesia:
- noun: rahmat (favor); keanggunan (elegance)
- verb: menghormati; menyemarakkan
- بهاس ملايو:
- رحمة (rahmat)
- Cebuano: grasya
- noun: die Gnade (favor); die Anmut (elegance)
- verb: beehren (to honor); zieren (to adorn)
- noun: la gracia (favor); el garbo (elegance)
- verb: honrar (to honor); adornar (to adorn)
- noun: pagpala (Christian favor); palugit (favor); kariktan (elegance)
- verb: bigyang-dangal (to honor)
- noun: la grâce (Christian favor); le répit (favor); la joliesse (elegance)
- verb: honorer (to honor); embellir (to adorn)
- 한국어: 은혜 (eunhye) (favor); 친절 (chinjeol) (elegance)
- noun: la grazia (Christian favor); il favore (favor)
- verb: abbellire; adornare
- ភាសាខ្មែរ: ព្រះគុណ (preahkoun)
- noun: gratia (favor); lepos, venus (elegance)
- verb: honesto (to honor); decoro (to adorn)
- မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကေျးဇူး (kay ya juu)
- 恩恵 (おんけい); 恩寵 (おんちょう) (favor)
- 優美 (ゆうび); 優雅 (ゆうが); 風雅 (ふうが) (elegance)
- verb: 飾る (かざる) (to adorn)
- ພາສາລາວ: ອະໂຫສິກັມ (a oh si kam) (favor); ຄວາມງາມ (khuaamngan) (elegance)
- ภาษาไทย: กรุณาคุณ (krunā khun) (favor); ความดี (khuām dī) (elegance)
- தமிழ்: கருணை (karuṇai)
- Tiếng Việt:
- noun: có duyên; dung thứ; kiều diểm
- verb: làm vẻ vang (to honor)
- 恩典 (ēndiǎn); 恩惠 (ēnhuì) (favor)
- 優雅 (yōuyǎ) (elegance)
- verb: 褒 (bāo) (to honor)