Gifts of grace and glory

The instinctive response upon receiving the grace of God is to glorify Him through acts of goodness to others, said Chieko N. Okazaki, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency.

Sister Okazaki, who delivered the closing address at the Women's Conference April 30, said concepts of grace and glory may seem "abstract, far away, perhaps even reserved for the next life. But I believe we can experience grace and glory here and now."She said grace is "the state in which we live, surrounded by the love of God. Glory comes when we recognize and acknowledge that love with gratitude and increased love of our own."

Sister Okazaki defined grace as "a gift of love from our Father and our Savior, so tender, so loving, and so lovely that it pierces us with sweetness. . . . and we see divine reality."

This gift may come in moments of sorrow, oppression, low self-worth, and it brings with it a realization "that in God's eyes we are infinitely precious, that we are yearned over, cherished and loved." This love is part of a great pattern that includes the love of the Firstborn being willing to accomplish the Atonement, and the love of Heavenly parents who accepted the willing offer of Christ.

"Think how this love must have drawn them even closer together. . . . We are brought into that family circle as an act of love and generosity and mercy. . . . as an act of grace."

Glory, said Sister Okazaki, is responding to a moment of grace with "an outpouring of gratitude and an upwelling of love. When our rising love and joyful gratitude meet the shower of mercy and love from the Savior and from our Heavenly parents - in that contact is the pure radiance and the brilliant light of glory."

Grace is perceived by the help of faith, she said. As men and women learn to walk by faith, she added, they are free to choose, either to increase or decrease the amount of love and the amount of agency in the world. "The reality is that the most solid and reliable fact in the universe is not the laws of physics or the might of armies, but the personal relationship we have in our hearts with the Savior, Jesus Christ," she declared. "And we can see that reality only through the eyes of faith."

She emphasized that grace, freely given, comprises a "network of support and love. It is with us, around us, under us, above us, every minute of every day. When we ourselves act in an awareness of grace, we become vessels of grace."

She concluded, saying: "We live in a world of grace. . . . When we see that and let our hearts respond with the increased gratitude and love that are surely an instinctive response, we can make it a world of grace and glory.

"The exercise of our faith gives us the eyes to pierce the mask of physical reality and to perceive the spiritual reality that lies beneath it.

"Right now, the conditions of mortality are such that we can see that reality only in brief moments and enter that world only as a visitor. But. . . all of the promises of the scriptures tell us that we are the children of that world. . . created to dwell in eternal glory if we choose."

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