In this Easter period, the Church invites us to announce the Risen Christ. For many, the period represents a great incentive to go on a mission in more distant lands to announce the Good News of our salvation. However, today I am going to highlight here the importance of perceiving the missionary sending in the ordinary routine, in the hidden that almost nobody sees.
In our daily lives, we are surrounded by tasks that involve concrete sacrifices. From food to be prepared to dishes to be cleaned – from the table to be set, to the food scraps to be removed. In every detail of life – if we are attentive – we are called upon to always give more, especially in the small things.
The enchantment that is generated in our hearts when we contemplate the lives of so many Saints who took risks on long expeditions around the world to announce the Gospel, does not seem to be the same when we find the biography of those who (apparently) did nothing great, but “only” loved so much those were entrusted to them at home, in their families, or in the cloister of a convent. We ran away from the Ordinary Saints, but why is it?
Saint Therese of Lisieux, a great announcer of the Risen One who passed through the Cross, understood that the cobwebs removed from the furniture in the kitchen of the Carmel could be a way towards her sanctity. Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian woman who lived a life of holiness through her marriage and her profession as a doctor, understood – in each person that she took care of – the mission entrusted to her to relieve the pain of an unknown patient, whom she might never see again. Hidden offers in the daily work (which are not less missionaries) have been large factories of Saints throughout human history (and still are today).
The house well swept, the cleaning of greasy dishes (sometimes with an unpleasant odor), the clothes linen in the sun… these are examples of some of the many seemingly routine and insignificant tasks, but which can carry great graces of sanctification if they are done with the right intention to lighten the burden of those who live with you. The fulfillment of the duty of each moment is also an incarnate proclamation of Christ who lives and serves.
From this perspective, to go on a mission is to constantly going out from yourself to do what Jesus commanded to his people: “love one another as I have loved you.” The small (and repetitive) hard and sometimes painful situations that we are subjected to every day, should therefore be our concrete opportunities to reach out to others through our works, which are still the most effective ways of loving.
If you do not have the money or the age to go across the continents and serve those who suffer on the roads of the world, your path to sanctification today may be somewhere else, it may be on the next time your duty is to clean the bathroom in your house, perhaps. Or in the disinfection of products that arrive from the supermarket in this time of COVID-19. Or in the conclusion of the job entrusted to you on a tiring day at work. There are many opportunities to go on a mission to announce that Christ is alive – and happy is the one who finds in each of them a greater meaning: Charity.
That in this period of so much joy, you can rediscover the joy of the possibility of holiness that resides in your soul. An announcement to be proclaimed is waiting for you (and it may not be that far away…).
The heart of someone in the next room or on your work colleague, with whom you only have contact by the internet in this time, may be your most distant land today. What do you need to do to get there?
The announcement of the Risen One also passes through our daily crosses in those hidden things that almost nobody sees. Holiness consists in experiencing the ordinary with joy.