Cathleen Falsani has written a column on spirituality and popular culture for the Chicago Sun-Times since 2001. She is a graduate of Wheaton College and holds masters degrees in journalism and theology. Falsani started out as a Catholic, then was Southern Baptist, and now calls herself "a freelance Christian." The essays in this accessible and spiritually edifying volume revolve around grace, which she sees pulsating in "the effulvia of everyday life." How does she describe it?
"Justice is getting what you deserve.
Mercy is not getting what you deserve.
And grace is getting what you absolutely don't deserve.
Benign goodwill. Unprovoked compassion. The unearnable gift."
The grace of God is greeting and meeting us every moment; it's just that we don't take the time to discern those abundant gifts. Most of the essays are about the process of "gracespotting," a spiritual practice Falsani picked up from a rabbi in Montana. She mines the meanings in a visit to Elvis's home Graceland with a friend; walking the labyrinth; visiting a radio station and considering the mystical qualities of music; being in Rome for the funeral of Pope John Paul II; journeying to several countries in Africa; pondering her attraction to Ireland; coping with her cat's cancer; dealing with the hate e-mail from Christians who objected to a column she wrote on Jerry Falwell; paying tribute to an octogenarian wheelchair-bound Catholic nun as a witness for God's love; and reveling in the natural world while staying at a cottage in Vermont.
It is a grand and glorious spiritual practice to be on the constant lookout for signs of grace. Falsani models for us what this means in these robust essays. She concludes: "You can call it what you like, categorize it, vivisect it, qualify, quantify, or dismiss it, and none of it will make grace anything other than precisely what grace is: audacious, unwarranted, and unlimited." In the end, it's all about grace. Amen!