Reaching eternal salvation through little things

Posted by svobadm8230a on 04/14/14

Reaching eternal salvation through little things

As I compose this essay, I realize that I am tempted to
lose sight of the significance of little things. Several “big
projects” weigh heavily on my mind. First, there is this
newsletter itself, which I want to be mailed out soon;
then I need to edit the forthcoming book of reflections on
the Rule, which is taking far longer than I had thought;
also, I am still answering Christmas mail (on an
basis, I am only on K at the end of January!). It is
discouraging to think about the vast amount of work that
I may or may not be able to complete.

Part of me would prefer to have everything done without the slow,
plodding process of working on the projects step
step. My faith tells me, however, that God wishes to pull
me out of this discouragement and motivates me
to plunge in to do the little things that I can do at
this moment and not to worry so much about the end result

or my self imposed deadlines. If I cooperate with God’s
grace in taking little steps each day (except, of course,
for Sundays), then the projects will be completed in
God’s time and not my time.

In a world where many people are hastening to
achieve great things in record time with the help of
electronic devices, St. Benedict urges us to hasten to
our heavenly homeland by keeping “this little rule that we
have written for beginners” (73:8)
. Yes, our real goal is
reach our true home with Christ and all the saints. To
hasten toward it, we must take small, humble steps and
proceed at a moderate pace, God’s unique pace for each of us.

This progress in small steps and the constant battle
against temptations (especially to pride)
pertain to all of us, whether lowly or great.
We must savor the graces that come our way, whether through
encounters with other people or through reading the
Bible and books “of the holy Catholic fathers” (73:4).

We must ponder slowly what God is saying to us, especially
in lectio divina, which involves "chewing" over
small phrases.
We must give thanks for these graces and thus
acknowledge that God Himself has given us all these
means to draw us closer to Him. Whenever we do good
deeds in response to His love, we must “judge it is the
Lord’s power, not [our] own, that brings about the good
in [us]” (Prol: 29). Then we must “run” to do further good
(we are never done on this earth!) because this good is
what God has granted us to lead us to “dwell in the tent
of the kingdom” (Prol: 22). Using the little
Rule and practicing the pithy but powerful seventy three
instruments of good works in RB 4, we shall ultimately
arrive in the place “God has prepared for those who love
Him” which is beyond what eye has seen and beyond
what ear has heard (cf. Prol: 77) and beyond what our
feeble human efforts can achieve. Let us rejoice that
God is leading us in such a little but magnificent way, a
way that helps us to “arrive at that perfect love of God
which casts our fear” (7:67).

In the peace of Christ and Saint Benedict,

Fr. Donald S. Raila, O.S.B.,
Director of Oblates

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