Thursday, April 23, 2009

O Lord of Pots and Pans and Things

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd."
~Flannery O'Connor, Catholic authoress

The thought so much on my mind these days, which may indeed seem odd to some, is "daily duty." Two simple words which have everything to do with our interior lives and the salvation of our souls, daily duty is a profound concept.

Daily duty is one of the secrets of the interior life. It means God is served in all things, even the most humble, the most tiresome, the most frustrating. Faithfulness to daily duty was the perpetual example of the Holy Family and the path taken by every saint. Daily duty is the core of the Little Flower's "Little Way," because it means doing well even the "littlest of things" for God's sake.

When we really think about it, we realize that daily duty entails constant practice of the virtues and fighting our inclinations to swither, to gripe and moan, to procrastinate, to look for a way out. Doing all things well for God is an expression of charity; doing them and thinking of them as nothing cultivates humility. As St. Francis Xavier said, "It is not the actual physical exertion that counts toward a man's progress, nor the nature of the task, but the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken."

Then there is the way St. Terese of Avila expressed that "spirit of faith" in "The Kitchen Prayer":

O Lord of pots and pans and things,
Since I have no time to be
a great saint by doing lovely things,
or watching late with Thee,
or dreaming in the dawnlight,
or storming Heaven's gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals,
and washing up the plates.

Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love,
and light it with Thy peace;
Forgive me all my worrying,
and make my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food
in room, or by the sea,
Accept the service that I do-
I do it unto Thee.

Finally, St. Rose Phillippine Duschene expressed "daily duty" in this way: "We cultivate a very small field for Christ but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self."

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