When We Become Graces from God: How He Uses Us to Bless Others
When we’re open to Divine Will, when we allow ourselves to be used as instruments for His grace, we touch others with His love in unexpected ways. And most often, we don’t even realize it.
Many years ago my grandmother decided it was time to do a bit of grocery shopping. Off she went, to pick up her bread and milk and perhaps a filet of salmon for dinner. Strolling about the aisles, my Grammy Dot greeted the people she passed with her customary and genuine smile.
Grammy then paid for her groceries, drove home, and started to prepare dinner for her family. As was her habit, she began singing hymns as she chopped and sliced and seasoned the salmon. She always sang to our Lord as she went about day; anywhere and everywhere, she had a firm custom of singing her Lord’s praises.
And so, as she began preparing the evening meal, she thought nothing more about her recent shopping excursion.
Until a few weeks later, that is.
Back in the same grocery store, my Grammy was stopped in the middle of an aisle by a woman. This woman appeared to be in her mid-30’s, yet she looked older in her wearied eyes. Even so, her face expressed exuberance and vibrancy.
“You don’t know me,” the woman began, “but I know you, and I want to thank you for saving my life. A few weeks ago, I was determined to end it all. My life, my pain, the pain I’ve caused others. I couldn’t find any good in the world, and I was seriously considering suicide. I was here, in this store thinking those thoughts, determined to go through it.
“But then you smiled. I passed you in one of the aisles, and you smiled at me. In that smile I saw peace, and such an honest kindness that my heart felt instantly lighter. It made me realize there’s still good in the world, and I decided not to go through with killing myself after all. Your smile helped me decide to live instead.”
As you can imagine, my grandmother was quite surprised; she hadn’t had any idea that a simple smile could have such impact. Yet this story causes me to wonder how many other lives she’d enriched or perhaps even saved with her joyous greetings.
How many have you saved, without even knowing it?
When a desperate soul calls out to the Lord, He always answers. We just have to listen for His answer, and be receptive to His graces.
Quite often, the Lord uses other people to be vessels of His divine mercy. By living in Him, we allow Him to fully live in us—to use us as He wills. Each and every one of us can be vessels of Divine Grace. We may not be aware of how God is using us for the holy benefit of others, but in truth we don’t need to know. That’s His work, and only He needs to be aware of the details. All we have to do is allow ourselves to be like the empty vessels at the wedding feast of Cana, ready to receive the Living Water which, when poured out for others, becomes the richest, most precious wine.
Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with Your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus! Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine. It will be You, shining on others through me. Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You. Amen.
(St. John Henry Newman)
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