The other evening I was present during a pre-Vocations Sunday sharing of stories and a discussion about discernment. One young woman asked the speakers what had most surprised them in following their vocations. Responses were varied, covering aspects of personal growth, experiences of faith or hitherto unimagined possibilities. I didn't say anything, but if I had, I would have shared the first word which came into my head when I heard the question - grace.
A large part of this surprise is an awareness of not having done anything to deserve it - even though I also know that grace is nothing other than gratuitous, unmerited gift. And, of course, I realise I'm not alone in this: that same grace which ambushes and amazes me doesn't abide by different rules for everyone else - and it has been so for millennia. Throughout the centuries saints and sinners alike have been surprised and overwhelmed by God's liberality, expressed in so many ways - but always abundantly.
And I somehow imagine that God rather enjoys this; that he delights in our delight. And somehow, too, it would not be the same if God were to be entirely predictable. So may I - may we all - go on being surprised by the lavishness of God's gifts... especially by grace.