Thursday, November 23, 2006

Little Graces

"Little Graces" by E. Stanley Ott. Building One Another. October 24, 2006 e-Volume 5, No. 43
Le Miserables by Victor Hugo

Keywords: grace, forgiveness, repentance

A friend drove me to the airport when my Dad died a few years ago. Another brought me chicken soup when I was ill and another called to offer a good word. These are little graces. They may not seem like very much at first, either to the giver or the receiver, but on reflection, little graces are truly great graces offering benefits that are all out of proportion to their size. There is some form of leverage going on as God takes the tiny and makes it huge, infusing the tiny act with the infinite power and presence of his dynamic power.

In the story of Les Miserables, Jean Val Jean is arrested for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family and spends twenty years in jail. He escapes and finds supper and overnight refuge in the home of a priest. Late in the night, Jean Val Jean begins to steal the priest’s silverware. The priest finds him. Jean Val Jean strikes the priest on the head and runs with the silver. In the morning, he is captured by the police and returned to the priest’s home. What happens then is astonishing.

The police accuse Val Jean of stealing the silverware. The priest replies, “Oh no. They were a gift. And he forgot this.” The priest adds two huge silver candle-sticks to the silverware. Jean Val Jean is stunned. In fact, he is converted by that little grace, his life changed forever. The priest says, “I have bought your soul for God.” The entire rest of the story of Les Miserables is the cascading of little grace after little grace after little grace from Jean Val Jean into the messy lives of those around him. Little graces are, in truth, great graces.

And what was the name of the priest? We don’t know A faceless, self-less servant whose little grace, at some true expense to himself, changed countless lives.

Be a giver of little graces empowered by the Lord of very great graces.

With joy - E. Stanley Ott