Just think about how much Jesus learned from
St. Joseph about how to simply love.
I’ve heard it said that there are a great many souls in purgatory because they did more than God asked them to. And not that purgatory is such a terrible thing (after all, it is an experience of God’s great love, readying us to meet Him face to face), but in our world’s constant telling us to do as much as we possibly can, to do it all, to take it to the limit, to be all you can be, to take no prisoners, and yes, even YOLO, it’s kind of a scary thought that there is a limit to how much God wants us to do. And if we do too much, more than he is calling us to do, we may not be ready to see him face to face. As someone who likes to get things done, that’s hard for me to wrap my head around!
On my class’ silent retreat during the summer, a very appropriate from the verse came up, as I’ve probably mentioned before- Psalm 46:10- Be still and know that I am God. And though I’m not quite in that silence any more, God is still calling me to be still sometimes, to stop telling him what I want him to do for me, and to start listening a little more carefully to what he wants me to do for him.
Case in point: now in my second year down here at St. John’s, I’ve asked to be a part of the team that plans and prepares for Mass, or at least to help clean up the chapel. I was in charge of the sacristy at my home parish for some of the Masses, and I even was the liturgy director at my seminary formation house before coming here.
But I’m pretty sure God has put me right where I need to be, even if it’s not where I had hoped to be. Instead of preparing the chapel for Mass, like the disciples prepared the “upper room” for the Last Supper, last year I prepared guest rooms for visiting seminarians and priests. Instead of cleaning the sacred vessels that hold the Body and Blood of Christ, I’m in charge of the dishwashers for every meal here at the Seminary. Maybe my mistake is in thinking I could only learn to be a priest if I washed and prepared all things sacred.
But you see, I know God is calling us to an everyday holiness. It’s such a part of the very incarnation of Christ, when he took on our human flesh, our being human! Because he humbled himself, and emptied himself (Phil 2:6-11), Jesus entered into our daily lives too, and whether we like it or not sometimes, he’s going to call us to find our holiness in the most regular things of our daily lives. Surely in the great things too, but if we miss God calling to us in the smallest things, like doing the dishes, and yes, cleaning our rooms, we might just be missing a pretty big part of what it meant for Jesus to become human like us. And if we just remember too, that Jesus, the Son of God, was obedient to his parents (Luke 2:51) and even worked with his hands, just like his dad on earth, Joseph, no task of service, whether it be making someone else’s bed or taking out the garbage, is going to seem beneath us. I know that I as a seminarian am learning so much about being a priest because of these simple jobs, and I’m growing to love them because of this. But I think we all as Christians can find yet another way of being like Christ to the world. And I’ve been thinking about Blessed Mother Teresa a lot lately, and what she had to say says it all: “We cannot do great things, but only small things with great love.”