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An Obstacle to Grace

Grace…  what a beautiful sounding word and an even more beautiful gift of God!  Grace, as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church is “the free and undeserved gift that God gives us to respond to our vocation to become his adopted children.”   

While there are several different types of grace, “actual grace” is defined as, “the help which God gives us to conform our lives to his will.”  This help that God gives comes in many forms and in a variety of ways.  One  such way is through His people.  In the way that people are vessels of God’s love and Presence, I wonder if  I am always open to receiving this actual grace sent to me by God?  In the way that God allows each of us to be that vessel in a unique way, how do I respond to God’s request to be His messenger of grace?  Am I open and receptive or can I sometimes be an obstacle to God’s grace?  This is something to take to prayer and something that I ask Jesus to assist me with whenever I feel as if He is allowing me to be used for His greater purpose.

Being a conduit of God’s grace means that I am  open to allowing Him to work through me.  Whether that means I act upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit and jump into action when I feel called, or when I feel the Lord desires it, I remain silent when I would normally speak.  Having an open heart that is receptive to the movement of the Holy Spirit is something that I have found takes practice.  I remember one time, I had the prompting in my heart to contact someone who I had not spoken with in quite a while.  She was a woman that I knew from my Church and  we were not particularly close, but we had enjoyed times together in prayer groups over the years.  When this thought of her came to mind, I made a note of it, said a prayer for her and then moved on with my day.  It was several weeks later that I learned that this woman had passed.  I felt terribly, not only that she had passed, but that the Lord had put her on my heart and I did nothing in response.  I learned a great lesson that day… that I had been an obstacle to God’s grace working through and in me. 

Living in the Spirit is something that takes awareness and vigilance.  To be aware that the Holy Spirit is working through me is in itself, grace.  The grace of allowing the Lord to “use” me in such a way keeps me attentive to my connection with Christ.  When I am in tune with Him and the movements of my heart, I know that I am allowing that grace to flow through me and that the Lord is blessing others through me.  Perhaps it is a simple word spoken to a stranger or a task that I perform when I don’t really want to do it.  Whatever it is, it is God’s grace at work.  He is the strength I need and He is the love that I desire and because of this unmerited gift that I am given as His grace, I can bring Him to someone who may need to know His love through me.  

This also goes in the opposite direction.  God also works through others in order to bring His grace to me.  There have been many times when I have denied another’s help because I didn’t want to seem needy or incapable of doing it on my own.  This may have been a  time when I was an obstacle to His grace.  I did not allow His gift of grace given to another to be brought to fruition because I have cut that off at the pass.  By thinking that I didn’t need the help, I have been an obstacle to another’s opportunity to receive God’s gift of  grace.  

 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time to give and there is a time to receive; there is a time to donate and a time to use the resources provided to me; there is a time to help and a time to be helped.  God is Lord of it all.  He desires that we each be His hands and feet and to serve others as well as allowing others to serve us.  So the next time I’m asked if I can use a hand,  I will say “Yes, please!”  In this way,  I will not be an obstacle to someone else’s grace.  And in the end,  I can be both the face of Christ as well as Simon, because even Jesus allowed Simon to help Him carry His Cross on the way to Calvary.

Nicky Verna – Copyright 2024

Nicky Verna is a daughter of the King, wife of 30 years to her Deacon husband, Tom, and mother to their 4 young adult children. She entered into the fullness of the Catholic faith in 1992. She graduated Cum Laude with a Masters degree in Theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary's School of Theological Studies. She is a daily communicant and a member of St. Andrew the Apostle Church, Drexel Hill where she is Director of the New Evangelization. She is a SoulCore leader & Regional Ambassador. She is genuinely in love with Christ.

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