Simple and Practical Things
October 1 is the day set aside in the Church calendar to remember St. Thérèse of Lisieux. “Thérèse of Lisieux (2 January 1873–30 September 1897), was a French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun” and “her spiritual memoir, L'histoire d'une âme
(The Story of a Soul
)… describes her ‘little way’ of a simple life of prayer and small good deeds.”[i]
She lived just short of 25 years, but her impact was great. Thérèse did not set out to become a saint or to impact the lives of others. She looked to God in prayer and answered God’s call in her life. She did not set out to accomplish great and magnificent things. She did small, simple and practical things in response to God’s call.
The Collect, or prayer, for her day is:
Gracious Father, who called your servant Thérèse to a life of fervent prayer, give to us the spirit of prayer and zeal for the ministry of the Gospel, that the love of Christ may be known throughout all the world; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.[ii]
Living my life, as this prayer says, with zeal for the ministry of the Gospel, that the love of Christ may be known throughout all the world, seems like an overwhelming task. When I think about it in terms of my whole life, every bit of the Gospel and the whole world, it seems like a very big thing, not a small or simple thing. When facing any large or seemingly insurmountable undertaking, it’s best to break it down into small parts that I can accomplished, one step at a time. So instead of taking on the task of living my whole life with zeal for the ministry of the Gospel, I can start by finding small ways to look to Christ’s loving presence in my day-to-day life, perhaps through the practice of meditating on a verse of scripture or spending time in quiet prayer and contemplation. It is through prayer and focus on God’s word that He will equip me to share in the ministry of the Gospel. Instead of focusing on my whole life and what is too much to do, I turn again to God and let Him work through me in small and practical ways. What small steps might you take to receive the spirit of prayer, love for God and zeal for the ministry of the Gospel?
Let us Pray.
"Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen."
Prayers New and Old, pg. 35