“Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.” — Matthew 25:23
Aren’t these words from today’s gospel reading (Mt 25:14-30) exactly those all of us want to here when we meet the Lord at the end of our earthly life? Of course! The key: being “faithful in small matters.”
We have a tendency to think that it’s the “big stuff” that counts with God. We hear stories of heroic deeds, martyred saints, and lives spent in monasteries and figure we don’t come close to that sort of commitment to our Faith. And God bless those who are able to do those things (and pray that we would do the same if we are called to it).
Whatever we are able to do for Jesus (and you are capable of much more than you might imagine) all of us have to deal to some extent with the humdrum of our day to day existence. How do we handle the ordinary tasks, the regular interactions, and the little annoyances? Let us remember St. Therese of Lisieux and her “Little Way.” She famously wrote this beautiful line to her sister:
Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions,
nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.
Therese died before reaching her 25th birthday. Her entire religious life was spent hidden away in the cloister. Yet she is one of the most renowned saints in the world and one of only three dozen Doctors of the Church declared in two millennia. She provides a splendid example for us which we can work to apply hour by hour. Washing the dishes? Do it with special attentiveness. Suffering a long wait in the checkout line? Say a prayer for the other persons in line (and the cashier). Reminded of a friend who has been out of touch? A quick call to say “Hello, I’m thinking of you.” Eager to break away from a colleague going on and on with a boring tale? Patience and kindness. Using or admiring a gift that was given to you months or years ago? Write a note to say thanks again and send it along with a prayer.
When this approach becomes habitual (yes, I know from personal experience that it can be a great challenge) we share in our “master’s joy” here and now and look forward in hope to the incomparable bliss of the beatific vision for all eternity.