Yesterday I wrote about charisms, the gifts we possess and offer to the world. These are not material gifts but gifts of the heart. Sometimes we band together with others to strengthen what it is that effects some change or gives some hope to the world. Often we have little or no sense of the impact of our presence in the lives of others. Sometimes it is the smallest kindness that saves another person in an hour of need. Mother Theresa said something like: “We need not do great things but only little things with great love.”
I’m thinking of this today for three reasons. Alan Cohen’s daily inspiration page for August 2nd spoke of an experience he had from giving a talk that he thought had been totally ineffectual. People began calling him soon after, however, on the recommendations of those who had participated in his presentation and praised his work. Secondly, I opened Hearts on Fire to three short prayers of a Jesuit named Alphonsus Rodriguez, following one after another on the page thusly:
- Lord, let me know you. Let me know myself.
- Lord, do your will and not mine.
- I’m just coming, Lord.
A short commentary follows which says that “these three brief aspirations are examples of Alphonsus Rodriguez’s way of praying. For many years this humble lay brother answered the door at the Jesuit college on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, where he tried to see Christ in each of the guests who came to the door.”
Closer to home, my major task for today is to write a sermon for this coming Sunday, to be presented at a liturgy that will be last jubilee celebration of us, the golden jubilarians of 2017. I have been moved beyond my expectations by the effects of this special year, most obviously because of the joy shared among the five of us who have over the years, in mostly subtle but occasionally overt ways, experienced the connection of our vowed commitment to each other in God. This last celebration will be special. As we mark the feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, traditionally the day on which the Sisters of St. Joseph professed their vows, we will honor one of our own in her hometown, at the church where she was baptized and formed into adulthood in faith. I hear that the town of Coxsackie is excited at the prospect of such a celebration, no more than we ourselves, because of our honoree’s willingness to pour herself out in kindness to everyone she encounters. Mary Rose has gone about her 50 years in an unassuming way and has endeared herself to us because of her genuine living out of our community’s charism of unifying love.
Today, then, I encourage you to pray for, and maybe connect with, someone in your life whom you know to be an example of that quiet, consistent presence of God in your life. No need for great deeds; great love will do.