Monday, October 12, 2009

Daily - 10/12/09

Last spring at the Men's Day of Recollection, Msgr. Callahan introduced us to St. Francis De Sales, who was the bishop of Geneva in the early 17th century. Among other things, St. Francis had a passion for spiritual direction, and wrote a series of letters to a pupil of his describing how she as a "normal person" -- one who is not called to the priesthood or consecrated religious life -- can devote her everyday life to God.

He eventually compiled this series of letters into a book, which he called "Introduction to the Devout Life." This book is considered a masterpiece of Christian writing, and it is loaded with practical advice and methods to help us keep our eyes on Christ throughout our daily life.

I've been crawling my way through this book for the last six months, and yesterday I came across this. It's a great description of how we can devoutly approach the daily grind of our lives. As St. Francis says, great occasions for serving God seldom come, but small occasions surround us daily.

Be ready then, my child, to bear great afflictions for your Lord, even to martyrdom itself; resolve to give up to Him all that you hold most precious, if He should require it of you;—father, mother, husband, wife, or child; the light of your eyes; your very life; for all such offering your heart should be ready.

But so long as God’s Providence does not send you these great and heavy afflictions; so long as He does not ask your eyes, at least give Him your hair.

I mean, take patiently the petty annoyances, the trifling discomforts, the unimportant losses which come upon all of us daily; for by means of these little matters, lovingly and freely accepted, you will give Him your whole heart, and win His. I mean the acts of daily forbearance, the headache, or toothache, or heavy cold; the tiresome peculiarities of husband or wife, the broken glass, the loss of a ring, a handkerchief, a glove; the sneer of a neighbour, the effort of going to bed early in order to rise early for prayer or Communion, the little shyness some people feel in openly performing religious duties; and be sure that all of these sufferings, small as they are, if accepted lovingly, are most pleasing to God’s goodness, Which has promised a whole ocean of happiness to His children in return for one cup of cold water. And, moreover, inasmuch as these occasions are for ever arising, they give us a fertile field for gathering in spiritual riches, if only we will use them rightly.

Great occasions for serving God come seldom, but little ones surround us daily; and our Lord Himself has told us that “he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” If you do all in God’s Name, all you do will be well done, whether you eat, drink or sleep, whether you amuse yourself or turn the spit, so long as you do all wisely, you will gain greatly as in God’s Sight, doing all because He would have you do it.