"Be faithful in little things. . ."


I don't know that Blessed Dom Columba was particularly influenced by St. Therese, although he did write a notice supporting the cause of her beatification; however, their messages converge at several points. And I must conclude from this convergence that God chose that particular time in history to clarify the path to Him. For what reason, I cannot say, but it appears that these two great directors of souls really found one very simple way which we still have not come to terms with.

from Union with God
Blessed Dom Columba Marmion

Be faithful in little things, not out of meticulousness, but out of love. Do this to prove to Our Lord that you have the love of a spouse for HIm.


It is a question of giving the first moments of the day to Our Lord or to His enemy, and the whole day bears the reflection of this first choice.


Let us labor to give ourselves to Jesus in the person of others. That admits of much interior renunciation.

Although St. Therese remarked very little on the enemy of God, she certainly taught a lot about doing little things with great faithfulness. Extraordinary measures need not be taken--the ordinary round of life provides ample opportunity for holiness and sanctity. And one of our chief services may be a smile at someone who receives very few.

What these two great spiritual guides did was strip away prolixity, method, and the encrustation of routine. They demanded of themselves and of those who would accept the path they showed an authenticity and a presence that some prior spiritualities tended to obscure. These two stand as great servants of God in the present moment under the present circumstances in present company.

This is nothing new. Brother Lawrence taught sanctity among the pots and pans. St. Benedict's rule emphasizes the "ordinariness" of sanctifying the day.

But these two Saints expressed this simple truth in words for the time. Straightforward, direct, uncompromising--the two tell us in no uncertain terms that the path to holiness is not turning our steps a different direction as we go to market, but turning our hearts a different direction whichever way we go. A transformation of the heart and attentiveness to God in the details of the day is all the fuel we need to accept the Grace of God's omnipresence. We need do nothing extraordinary, we just need to be aware of how extraordinary every moment in His presence is; how every opportunity of the day is an opportunity for grace, peace, love, and security in His presence. He is in every second, every moment of every day. And every moment of every day is His special gift to us.

Generations of teachers have taught this, and still we go looking for the extraordinary. While it is exemplary practice to wake early and spend time in Eucharistic adoration, it is just as extraordinary to recognize Jesus in the presence of our coworkers and to greet Him.

Faithfulness in the small things--in preparing lunch for a hungry child, in taking time out to comfort a sorrowing friend, in smiling at a neighbor, in giving way in traffic although you have every right to continue, in letting God be present through you and in you in every encounter and interaction. Surrender, abandonment of self. And in this season, the abandonment of self to the hope of the Incarnation. We have the face of the baby Jesus to look upon and to delight in. We can join the chorus of the angels in His acclaim. We can sing,

"For unto us a son is given
and his name shall be called
wonderful, counselor, prince of peace, mighty god, holy one,

And it is on that last that we should spend a moment in mediation as we practice the direction of Blessed Columba and St. Therese. Emmanuel--"god with us." For indeed He is, in every moment, in every breath, in every person, in every event, in all that comes to us in the course of the day. Jesus, our Emmanuel, ever present, comforter, King and Brother. Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay, we await you moment by moment, let us see your face in each person who greets us, and more importantly let each person see your light shining out from us. Come, Lord Jesus.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 21, 2006 8:02 AM.

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