I confess I'm not a fan a big fan of Martin Luther's. Despite maintaining the real presence of the Christ in the Eucharist he lacks the mystical bent that I prefer in my faith. However, he seems more often than not to be the authority on grace so originally this was piece was going to be called "what if Luther was right?" In recent months I've had to acknowledge that my reactions toward his theological ideas may have been born of ignorance and to be honest I just began reading my own traditions views on grace particularly the theological ideas put forward by the Anglican Divines but until recently I don't think I've ever given much thought to grace itself as a mystical experience. To be honest while I've always believed in God I had never really thrown myself before God's mercy before. Don't get me wrong I've always thought I had believed in God's grace but nothing challenges like a loved one getting a cancer diagnosis.
I spent the first month of my wife's diagnosis asking how the hell a God I have served without question as both a youth minister and now as a hospice chaplain offering support to those who are facing life limiting illnesses of their own, could now make the sweetest person I know face such adversity. I had real problems with this, I remember sitting in my shower crying wondering what sort of bastard does this. I didn't want to go to church and just couldn't get spiritually comfortable. Then one day almost by accident I was sitting in front of my little home Mary shrine having something akin to a panic attack and it happened. It was momentary and comes and goes but for a moment I felt Grace.
The trick you see wasn't faith. I've had that but what I didn't have or simply couldn't do is surrender to what that faith means. It's that act of surrender that I managed to do by accident when I simply said, "screw it I can't do this I trust you" that opened up this avenue of grace. For a moment and just for a moment I actually picked up my cross and trusted that God would allow me to follow him. It was as close to a mystical moment as I've ever had.