For a couple of months I’ve been accompanying a friend whom I met at a women’s shelter. We meet every Friday to chat about life and pray the rosary together. In getting to know her, she has consistently showed a lot of interest in her faith, specifically in receiving Holy Communion, Confession, and other sacraments.
One Sunday, we met her at Mass and she had the opportunity to receive her first Confession. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to, but her and I stayed for Mass and sat together. Throughout Mass, I was trying to explain things to her and periodically holding the hymnal so we could both sing along. At one point, while I was holding the hymnal for her, she began to cry. I wondered if she was crying because she wasn’t able to go to Confession. I gave her a moment, then proceeded to ask her what was wrong. She somewhat brushed it off and said it was nothing. We got a text from her that afternoon thanking us for being with her at Mass and thanking us for being in her life in general. We didn’t end up finding out what was wrong, but she seemed happy, so I wasn’t worried.
The following Friday, I was at the women’s shelter talking to her and seeing how she was doing. She confided in us about the ongoing conflicts within her family. We were about to join in prayer, when I was reminded of her tears on Sunday, so I asked her, “what happened at Mass the other day; were you upset that you couldn’t receive Confession?” She responded by telling us that she was so touched at the love she was receiving through us. She felt loved by us holding the hymnal for her; she felt loved during Mass when we would look back at her and ask her if she was okay; she felt loved when we answered her questions. She shared with us that she hadn’t felt loved like that for a very, very long time.
Holding the hymnal. Asking if she was okay. Answering her questions. That’s all it took. We all have the ability to give this love. This moment helped me to realize that I could be an instrument of God’s love in a way that I had never expected. So simple, pure and authentic. Our God is working in us and through us whether we realize it or not, and it is often in the ways we least expect it- in those small gestures done with genuine love. My friend was able to recognize the presence of God in me, and I was able to recognize the presence of the Lord in her. When she was able to recognize Christ in me, this opened me up to see Christ’s love being poured out to me through her. We were both able to become instruments of Christ to one another. God wants to use us as His instruments, and when He does, it is grand.