XIV Pentecost

August 26, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

Therese was only a young girl when she entered the Carmelite order in her native France.  As she lived this austere life, she still had her child-like innocence.  She found that one of the Sisters did not seem to like her.  She tried harder and harder to live the life of the Carmelite, but this did not seem to change the Sister’s attitude toward her.  What she discovered through this experience was that the way in which she was called to serve Christ was through the little things in life, done in love.  It was this way of living that has been known as “The Little Way of St. Therese” after her death at a young age.

I have come to the conclusion that often our day-to-day living is a series of choices – one after the other.  From a choice of whether we will hit the snooze button or get up immediately through the time we choose to go to bed, our days are filled with many little choices.

It would seem at first that these little choices make little difference in our lives.  But I have come to believe that that is actually a dangerous way of thinking.  Actually, little decisions may add up to something over time.  This is the wisdom of St. Therese.

Let’s take an example.  We see someone or something that might lead us to make a judgment on a person.  We can choose in that moment to make the judgment, or we can perhaps remind ourselves that there are all kinds of people in this world and that they are all loved by God.   We could choose to lift them up in prayer.

What harm is there in judging someone?  We need only to turn to the words of Jesus – “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.   Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  

Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”

Little things build up.  I believe that the same can be said for good choices.  Let me give an example.  We have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursday mornings.  It is a time in which we sit quietly before Jesus in the Sacrament.  There are rarely more than three of us at Adoration.  But it does our souls’ good, so I would not think of cancelling it!

So what does any of this have to do with our readings today?  I was thinking about these little choices when I read about the battle that St. Paul writes about in his letter to the Ephesians:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.   Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

He goes on to describe all of the armor – which is an interesting thought.  But he ends with what is important:

“Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that utterance may be given me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Ultimately, the little choices we make each and every day boil down to this – is the choice that I am making a way in which to serve Jesus Christ?  That sounds dramatic, but it is really what is to be at the center of our lives as Christians.  Everything we do is to serve Christ.

This week, think of the little choices that form our day.  Are we making good choices?  Are we making choices that serve Jesus?  And if we are not – we need to confess them, and to try again.  We are not perfect, but we know our goal, to serve our Lord.  AMEN.