Love and grace

God's love and grace. Image composite of graphics from pixabay.com

When we are young we depend on our parents or those people who take care of us and who are responsible for the years of our growing up. Truly we depend on them for our daily needs, especially basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, and school fees. Then the time comes when we learn to stand on our own two feet and live independently.  As we live longer, our values change somehow and this is affected by how we have been brought up within our family, culture, environment, and education – all of which have helped to shape our life. We become mature, make our own decisions that lead us to choose the way of life we want to live. Surely we want to be secure – that is why we try to find work that helps us to have a better life.

By and by, years pass and we often do not notice that we have accumulated a lot of unnecessary things – things that we have kept because of their sentimental or monumental value to us as part of our life experiences or our security. These can be surplus things that we may no longer use. Sometimes these are things that we might have gathered for others, thinking that they will be their gifts but somehow they have never been given to them – they are just there accumulating dust. There can be different kinds of material things, like a lot of rubbish that can pile up in our life. We believe that those things bring us security, and we think they satisfy us.  I, also, am examining the things I have accumulated.  Upon reflection, I see that these items are not really needed or important. This helps me to realise that I need to renounce, dispose and let go of them. Yes, there are things that are hard to give up – it is not easy to do this because those things can be tied to a cemented value for which I worked.  Yet, there comes the time for letting go… whether it is relinquishing material things, relationships,  power, or pleasure. This time is a kind of self processing where we are to select what is essential in our life.

Making better choices helps us to live simply with a peaceful mind and heart. Growing in age is gaining wisdom. There are only very few things that are really necessary in life – they may not even be visible to us, but, importantly, they are seen with the eyes of faith. As the lyrics of David Haas’ hymn, “God Alone Is Enough” says:

Give me nothing more than your love and grace
These alone, O God, are enough for me.

This love of God gives us life. His love inspires us in our daily activities and in our dealings with others. To put God at the centre of our life is enough – His grace follows and where there is God, we are always to be attuned to His grace. We are inspired to give and live a righteous life. His grace will abide and accompany us to persevere in our love for God daily.

On one of the occasions when I was to visit and give communion to some of the residents in a nursing home, I was tempted not to go as I felt tired and lazy. But my conscience kept nagging me to go and visit them. On that day I was referred to a new resident. One of the nursing staff introduced me to him. I was surprised by his name: Eucharist. What a marvellous and very unique name. When He saw me his face lit up with joy – perhaps because he recognised me by my veil that I was a Sister. For me it felt like the situation when Mary was visiting her cousin Elizabeth and where the moment of joy was gifted to both of them, as everybody present there was happy.

In our conversation I was deeply inspired because this man, Eucharist, was deeply in love with God. As part of his daily routine, he prayed the rosary five times a day. He said, “Jesus is enough for me.” I was happy and at the same time emotional upon hearing these words from a man who was so much in love with and loved by God. He added that he was always a regular Churchgoer when was he was able to walk properly without his frame. He said that praying was a fundamental part of his life. He was happy to receive Jesus.

I then visited another resident who surprised me again because I noticed that he was so elegant in his attire. He was overjoyed to tell me that it was his 98th birthday so I sang him a birthday song. He was happy and I was happy too. Because I brought only two hosts for communion, I gave him one half of the remaining host.

Lastly, I visited Anna, another resident at the nursing home.  She, too, was happy to receive Jesus.  She said to me, “Please don’t forget me…” These words kept returning to me later because I was not supposed to visit them. Upon reflection, I realised that if I had deprived them of my visit, I would have deprived myself of seeing and experiencing the grace of God.

My love for God helps me to do the right thing for others and I have received grace upon grace. If I had not brought Jesus to these precious nursing home residents, I would have missed seeing Jesus in them. Sometimes I feel proud to bring Jesus to the people – the reality is that it is Jesus who brings me there. Thanks to God, it was by His grace that I overcame my laziness or tiredness that day.

Ignore not God in our life. His grace will always help us to go forth and do good for others. And there is always joy in giving – the joy we give is the joy we doubly receive. We need to take care of our spiritual journey as we pray that we may grow in His love so that we see and enjoy the effects of His grace in our life. God’s love and grace are enough – and that keeps our life filled with a joyful heart.

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