Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Influence of a Single Soul

If you tried to "read the eternal thought which God the Creator and Father had in your regard" (to paraphrase George Weigel), what would that look like for you?  Which parts of your life are closest to what you think He envisions for you, and which parts are the farthest away?  What can you change, today, to inch closer?

If everyone has something to do for God, as Pope John Paul II tells us, what is your "something to do"?  Who are the people you see and interact with in your daily life?  Have you considered that it is likely you are affecting them (hopefully in a positive way), with your mere presence?

The influence exercised by a person is something subtle, penetrating; its strength cannot be measured.  What powerful preaching there can be in simple contact with a soul!  One single soul can change the whole moral atmosphere surrounding it by its solitary light.  ~Elizabeth Leseur

We can lead people (and be led by them) to Christ without any awareness on our part.  According to St. Augustine, this kind of "leading" was a huge part of his conversion.  Regarding Bishop Ambrose, he writes, "To him I was led by you (God) without my knowledge, so that by him I might be led to you (God) in full knowledge."

We can lead each other through our personal encounters and through prayer.  Thomas Merton relays his experience of being delivered from eternal condemnation through the efforts of an unknown soul:  "...my soul was rotten with the corruption of my sins...What is more, there was nothing I could do for myself.  There was absolutely no means, no natural means for getting me out of that state.  Only God could help me.  Who prayed for me?  One day I shall know.  But, in the economy of God's love, it is through the prayers of other men that those graces were given.  It was through the prayers of someone who loved God that I was, one day, to be delivered out of that hell where I was already confined without knowing it."

We are called to offer sacrifices for ourselves and others, so we can all grow in holiness; our pursuit of God's will.  We can do this in an infinite number of ways, but here are just a few ideas (as discussed in class earlier today) to get the ball rolling:
1.  Praying for our enemies (or anyone who just annoys us and all of those in between)
2.  Being wrongly accused for something without blowing up like a fanatical monster
3.  Taking care of parents and/or young children
4.  Doing things that we can't do well (Hold on pride, this one's going to hurt!)
5.  Doing anything else that you get no (zero, none, zilch) satisfaction out of, whatsoever, for the love of God and your neigbor (everybody you know, but yourself).

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for leading us to yourself through others who have no idea they are doing so.  Thank you, also, for a turn at the lead.  What an incredible gift to assist another in their journey to You!  It is mind-boggling that this awesome "activity for eternity" is so well-hidden!  Amazing to think that one person can be leading, while another is being led, and yet, neither one knows a thing about it!  This must be another component of your mercy.  We could very well be filled up with ourselves if we knew our own influence.  Thank you for your wisdom in not allowing that to happen, because we need room for You!  As Mother Teresa told us, "Even God Himself cannot fill what is already full."  Thank you, Lord, for the emptiness that we must carry in this life, for that is Your home, until we get to the place You have prepared for us.  Amen."

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