Let's Not Scorn The Little Things
Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of roadkill and fallen items on the road. As I drive past these things, I wonder who moves them out of the way, and I feel guilty that I always leave the problem for the next person to address. In life, every moment is an opportunity for us to show God’s love. Many everyday activities pose small problems that challenge us to stand up as Jesus’ disciples. However, these challenges are easy to ignore if we fear others’ opinions or if we use the excuse that “it’s not our job.” By forming the habit of ignoring simple needs in the world, we cripple ourselves and make it more difficult to do God’s work. We must build moral strength by having integrity and always doing what’s right, even in seemingly insignificant circumstances.
On page 143 of St. Josemaría Escrivá’s book, “The Way,” he wrote, “Do you really want to be a saint? Carry out the little duty of each moment: do what you ought and put yourself into what you are doing. You have mistaken the way if you scorn the little things.” Life is the sum of moments, and every action we take has meaning. Our actions are much more meaningful if they consistently align with our values and we do what is right. St. Josemaría adds on the next page,
“You tell me: when the chance comes to do something great, then…! Then? Are you seriously trying to convince me—and to convince yourself—that you will be able to win in the supernatural Olympics without daily preparation, without training?”
Most of us have trained to achieve a goal at some point in our lives. This training involves different approaches and methods in order to reach this goal. In piano, I sometimes dissect certain difficult measures and dumb them down to the basics before adding any of the complex elements. I have to build on a simple, solid foundation of note reading to properly play the song. Just so, we cannot expect to do fantastic things on a whim. We have to prepare ourselves to act by taking simple steps. These steps could be as easy as raising our hands to lead prayer, pausing to clean up after others, or clearing something out of the road. Each of these small acts requires an amount of courage or sacrifice. When courage or sacrifice is continually reinforced, it is magnified, and we grow in strength to repeat that action in the future. That courage could then help us speak out for someone in a more serious situation or take action in front of our peers to set a good example.
As a people, we have blinded ourselves to small opportunities and disregard the countless ways we can do good in the world every single day. Taking action even in seemingly insignificant instances is a practice of great importance. The little things we go out of our way to do build our strength of character and tune our inner ear to God’s will. We must look at life with a new lens, wiping away the desensitization that clouds our vision and obstructs action. The more we deviate from our easy, everyday path, the easier it will be for us to make more significant sacrifices and make a true difference in the world.