Graces

Here is one way to consider how God may bestow His graces upon us.

There is no shortage of graces that God is willing to give us. They come in all shapes and sizes. They disguise themselves in our everyday situations, which is why we can so easily overlook them. They usually present themselves as oppositions. They can appear troublesome, aggravating, annoying and an overall pain in the butt. That's how we very often perceive them, but in reality, they're the foundations of what Christ represents. Now, because they may appear to us in these forms, we mistakenly recognize them as troubles that plague our lives. But if we understood what they really are, opportunities in disguise, our souls would be like a well functioning construction project.  

We all know of the wonderful qualities that Jesus possessed. He was loving, caring, patient, humble, charitable, forgiving and knowledgeable. That's a short list of His characteristics. I'm sure you've also heard that we are "made in the image and likeness of God." But have you ever really considered what that means? Many people believe that it means we look alike, that when Jesus was here on earth He took the form of a human being and we all look basically alike. This is a tremendous misunderstanding of, what being made in the image and likeness of God means.

We have the capabilities of possessing the same characteristics Jesus had. We have the brains, love and compassion to be just like Him. So why are we so far from being like Him? Part of the problem is that we don't realize how unlike Him we really are. We tend to convince ourselves that we represent God in many forms. It can be extremely difficult to see ourselves for who we really are. It's why we should listen when people correct or criticize us. It's a difficult thing to accept, but more often than not, people have a much better understanding of who we are, than we do of ourselves. I know there's a lot of people who would disagree with that, but it's true.

Look around the world today. It's full of hatred, revenge, pride, greed and so on. All of the things that Jesus was not. How easily do we get angry at someone for the slightest offense. How quickly are we to judge someone and their actions. How fast are we at putting our two cents into someone's life and talking bad about them. These are common scenarios for us, yet there are few who aren't guilty of each and everyone of them. 

So how does God try and help us? He gives us many opportunities to change our ways. He bestows these graces on us every single day. He allows people to annoy and offend us. He allows, what we often consider tragedies, to befall us. Every little situation in our lives is like a grace from God. 

 

The first grace is that you woke up this morning. How many people around the world went to bed last night and didn't wake up. All of a sudden, out of the blue, without any warning, those people were brought before the Judgement seat of God, to account for every instance of their lives. Now, how many of them do you think were prepared to give an account of their entire lives to the ultimate Judge? It must be said with shame, very few. Many of these people were unprepared to meet God in Judgement, because they failed to recognize and use the graces God sent them throughout their lives.

 

The next grace is giving you every opportunity to act just like Jesus throughout your entire day. From dealing with those in your own household, to battling those on the road while trying to get to work in one piece, to handling your co-workers, boss, customers, employees, etc. There's no shortage of problems that arise in our day. It's just a matter of how you're going to handle each situation.  

 

God wants us to be like Him. He knows how to accomplish that in you, so let Him do His work. We must begin slowly by recognizing the situations that arise in our daily lives and turn them into an occasion of growth. When someone is doing something that annoys you, try and be patient and let it pass. Keep your mouth shut. Remember, just as others annoy you, you annoy others. People find the same faults in you, as you find in them. When a friend or co-worker turns around and leaves your presence, and you start talking about them, you can be sure that they're doing the same to you when you're not around. Do you think Jesus acted that way? Do you think He bad mouthed people behind their back? Of course He didn't. He practiced humility, patience, understanding and love. He left us a model to follow. He gave us the road that must be traveled if we're to be saved and go to Heaven. You can't live in contradiction to the way Christ lived and expect the gates of Heaven to be open and waiting for you. 

God's graces are pouring over us consistently. When something happens and you're ready to react with anger, impatience, a judgement, selfishness, pride or arrogance, remember; God presented that opportunity to you so you could react in a way that Christ would have. The problems that arise are like shears which God uses to prune us into His image and likeness. If you're reacting to situations that are the opposite of how Jesus would, who is it that you're really the image and likeness of, perhaps the prince of this world, Satan? 

 

God will give you the graces of strength, patience, forgiveness, understanding, charity and love over and over again. It's really just a matter of recognizing them and using them. Imagine how pleased our Lord will be with you if you take one opportunity everyday to react the way He would. Pretty soon it'll just be your normal way of life. Then you can be confident that you've become a living model, of the image and likeness of God.  

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