It’s St. Therese’s feast day on Saturday (Oct. 1), and her words have been on my mind and heart recently as I’ve been praying her Novena. I finished reading her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, last month; and one theme in particular has stayed with me as I go about my daily tasks: we are to do little things with great love.
We learn from this Doctor of the Church, that our path to becoming more like Jesus is really all about how we love. Moreover, it’s all about how we love in the little things. In the little encounters and duties of our daily lives we will discover whether we really have love. The presence of love will be more apparent in the quiet acts of service than in the loud displays of our faith. It is truly revealed in the hidden charities that few see, rather than the public demonstrations.
If the little activities of our days do not reveal much love, then we can see the opportunities we have to redeem. And redeem them we must. As Saint Paul says, “If I have not love, I am nothing;” and “if I have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2-3). Whether we do great things or small things matters not for eternity. What matters for eternity is that we did what God called us to do with great love. Whether you make a meal today, sweep a floor, hold a door, pick up someone else’s trash, pay for someone’s meal, give someone your seat, or clean up yet another potty training accident–do it with great love. We must all get to the place where we can say with conviction of heart, along with St. Therese, “My vocation is LOVE!”
A thriving domestic church — your family home and life of faith — is central to the faith formation of you, your spouse, and your children. One of the most important elements of family faith life is prayer. Family prayer time is the space where everyone in the home learns how to enter into the prayers of the whole church, and through this family ritual little children are exposed to “the Church’s living memory” (CCC 2685).
Perhaps prayer time has not been part of your family life; it’s never to late to start. You may be a young family with little ones, and you want to establish a growing family prayer routine. Or, you may be a family with older children who aren’t used to corporate prayer. As with various spiritual disciplines of the domestic church, many people are a bit overwhelmed about where to begin. It is easy to look at all the possible expressions of family prayer time and do one of two things: give up completely or try to do everything. Continue reading “Prayer in Your Domestic Church”→
We just started homeschooling this year, as our oldest has started Kindergarten. So I have spent the summer reading various books on education philosophies. A great book that I just finished reading is Susan Schaeffer Macaulay’s For the Children’s Sake, which is basically a summary and modern-day application of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education and teaching principles. Mason believed that a child’s mind should be respected and filled with only the best source material; and she advocated, among other things, reading aloud “living books” filled with “story” and letting children discover and connect first-hand with nature. Macaulay makes a most compelling case for Mason’s ideals in education — at home or in a school. But at various points, Macaulay notes the skeptic’s response, and that some may find such an approach to education too idealistic or impractical in our current society. She doesn’t think it is unattainable for the average person to give children this kind of education, but she concedes that we are imperfect people in imperfect circumstances. Toward the end of the book, she gives beautifully true advice: “If you can’t give them everything, give them something.” Continue reading “The Enemy of the Good”→
My mom has moderate Alzheimer’s disease. She was diagnosed three years ago. She struggles, at this point, with finding the right words in conversation. She doesn’t remember something that you told her a minute or two before. She can’t write the face of a clock, or remember what day it is. Though a published author, she can no longer concentrate on an idea long enough to follow it through in conversation or on paper. My mom can’t do the things she used to do. However, though her cerebral capacity and function have decreased, the progression of the disease has brought an increase in Christian virtues, a greater capacity for the things that hold eternal value. Continue reading “Her Eye Is on the Sparrow”→