Not so long ago the reflection in my book Heart to Heart with Mary (seen below) prompted me to consider how saints, Mary in particular, let God use them without reservation.
The Divine Potter
My child, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to the potter’s house and told him that Israel was like clay in his hands. Isn’t that a beautiful figure of speech? You are like clay in God’s hands. He originally fashioned you into a unique person and is still working on you, shaping you tenderly and expertly with his gentle hands. Be supple clay, dearest, and cooperate with him. You do not always understand God’s intentions, but trust this divine artist as I did.
In Nazareth I had a number of pots that held water carried from the well and stored grain and other foods. None of these pots, not even the prettiest, was solely for decoration. They were all useful. Offer yourself to God to be used as he wishes. I will help you not to fear his plans nor to be skeptical of them.
Let yourself be filled to the brim with God’s life, grace, and then take it to others in the forms of light, hope, and love. If you do this, you will be like one of my favorite clay pots!
Talk over with Mary ways that God may be calling you to be useful.
St. Teresa of Kolkata said, “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” St. Bernadette, who saw Our Lady at Lourdes, spoke of herself as a broom that is used and then left behind a door when no longer needed. Our Blessed Mother surrendered herself entirely to God. She could have been asked to do anything, and she would have said yes to God. As it was, God used her flesh and blood to become a human being and save the world.
When we pray, “God, use me for what you will,” surprising things happen and we are stretched. We may end up doing things we never imagined. Because I said yes to a piano recital, I’m now entertaining residents at my retirement Village on weekends. Because I said yes to a neighbor who needed drops in his eyes, I’m now a nurse. Because I said yes to using a form of reiki to try to relieve someone’s pain, I’m now exploring that as a new ministry. Because I said yes to a man who asked me to write a book on the Holy Spirit, I’m learning more about this Person. Who knows what God will lead me to do next?
Letting God use us without reservation reminds me of this reflection of Nikos Kazantazkos;
There are three kinds of souls.
One says, “I am a bow in your hands, Lord.
Draw me lest I rot.”
The second says,
“Do not overdraw me, Lord. I shall break.”
The third says, “Overdraw me and who cares if I break.”
Speaking of pottery reminds me that God can use the weak to accomplish great things as this parable teaches:
On the way to fetch water, a Chinese man carried two pots hanging on either end of a pole over his shoulders. One pot was cracked, and each day by the time the man got home, half of the water in it had leaked out. One day the broken pot lamented, “Master, I’m sorry. I never bring you a full pot of water.” The man replied, “Look behind you.” All along the side of the path where the pot had spilled water, flowers grew.
A quotation attributed to St. John Vianney is “If Samson slew hundreds of Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, imagine what God can do with a complete ass.”
Another thought: To be finished, a pot needs to be placed in fire.
How have you been amazed at what you have done after saying yes to God’s grace?