From the Editor

To give up our independence is a kind of death. But doing so makes us able to receive grace, a grace in which there is fullness of life.

Rebecca Au-Mullaney
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In the opening minutes of Terrence Malick’s film The Tree of Life, there’s a stunning voiceover contrasting Nature and Grace, spoken on top of scenes of sunflowers, cows grazing, and the film’s central characters in their home.

The nuns taught us there are two ways through life, the way of Nature and the way of Grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow.
Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries.
Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way.

These lines suggest that if we are to choose the way of Grace, we must accept a new way of life that cuts against the grain of our natural inclinations. The Nature described here is something like our tendency to prefer ourselves over others, or the pride that controls so much of our daily life. As Paul writes in the letter to the Romans, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”

But if we understand Nature differently, Nature and Grace are not opposed to each other. Remember that God called His creation good, even very good. Sin and pride flood the human experience, but they are unnatural because they pervert the right order of things. In this sense, Nature refers to all of the goodness of creation and it works in harmony with Grace.

The concept of “grace perfecting nature” fills the writings of Thomas Aquinas. One such passage reads, “Since therefore grace does not destroy nature but perfects it, natural reason should minister to faith” (Part I of the Summa Theologiae, Question 1, Article 8). In other words, we should exercise our ability to study and understand, but accept that there is a limit after which reason can go no further. At that point we must lean on the supernatural—God’s grace and revelation, especially as provided through Jesus Christ—to make our understanding whole. The alumni in this issue are making that movement from Nature into Grace, not just for the completion of their understanding but also of their life.

When life is going well, we may forget we need Grace at all. We credit our own tenacity and planning for the comfort, security, and worth we feel at the moment. But the vulnerable stories in this magazine show young King’s alumni who are choosing to believe, or being forced to accept, that their own efforts are not sufficient.

To give up our independence is a kind of death. But doing so makes us able to receive Grace—a Grace that does not erase whatever natural abilities we have, but rather, perfects them. And in that Grace, we find the fullness of life.


Rebecca Au-Mullaney
MCA ’15
Director of Strategic Communication

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