Decades ago my then spiritual director told me he had been praying for me and heard in his heart from the Lord to tell me the Lord wanted me to do: “Exceedingly little things for love of Me!”
I should note that at the time I was pastor of three parishes, frequently giving missions in other parishes, giving lectures, writing, teaching – sort of big stuff, at least for a priest.
Learning to do little things, things that mostly go unnoticed, was/is a tough lesson to learn, to do, to trust.
Examples of the power of little from Scripture are numerous, among them, these from Jesus Himself: St. John tells us how Jesus used a little of His own spit and some earth to make mud and heal a man’s blindness [Jn.9:6ff], St. Luke tells us how Jesus took a few little fish and loaves of bread to feed thousands [Lk.9:16ff], St. Mark reveals to us the power of a cup of water [Mk.9:41ff], and St. Matthew reveals to us how we shall be judged upon little things like giving someone attention in various ways [Mt.25:31ff] – all examples and more of Jesus simplifying life for us to do little things, for each other, thus for Him.
Long before I was a priest, I was on staff in a soup kitchen [ bus fare in those days was only 25 cents].
One day I observed and overheard a conversation between an elderly man and a very young man.
It was a bitterly cold winter day and the older man was going to take the bus to the shelter while the young man wanted to take the bus across the river for, he said, a chance for a job.
The old man said that all he had was 25 cents.
The young man was crestfallen.
The old man gave him his quarter – a little coin really.
Not everyone will ask for help, no matter how little the help they need may be.
However, big need or small need, if we are always waiting to be asked we will miss vital clues about need.
Yesterday I was on one of the smaller buses used on routes with not a lot of demand. One woman had been waiting at the stop with me and we had been chatting about family. When we boarded the bus, there was only one other passenger, an elderly woman.
When there was a pause in our conversation about family the other passenger said: “I have no one.”
Almost in unison the other woman and myself said: “We’re here, you have us.”
Awareness is the key to the power of the little.
Awareness of other.
If we are other aware, rather then predominately self-aware, then we will hear clearly, see clearly, and love’s imagination will reveal to us the myriad of little things we can do – and their power will do what it did for that woman on the bus: she smiled for she had been recognized, embraced as a person, included.