REFLECTION: Avoid getting lost in the little things PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 11 May 2014 13:41



Saints have extolled the great and strategic value of little things we handle every day. Most famous among them was St. Therese of the Child Jesus who eloquently articulated and lived the spirituality of “the little way” that can effectively lead us all the way to heaven. We should never trivialize the value of little things.

That’s understandable, of course. Care for the little and the ordinary things in our daily life can mean a lot of good things. It can mean constancy, for example, as opposed to having an on-and-off zeal that depends mainly on big, extraordinary things that usually come from time to time only.

It can also mean authentic love unaffected by the false glitter of the world in terms of fame, wealth or power. It presumes a deeper motivation. It can also show true fidelity, as Christ himself said clearly: “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much.” (Lk 16,10)

Indeed we have to give special attention to the little and the ordinary things of our daily life because through them do we build up our genuine spiritual life of faith, hope and charity with God and with everybody else.

It is certainly false and deceptive to wait for big and extraordinary things to happen before we live out our faith, hope and charity. This attitude can lead us to inconstancy, hypocrisy, disloyalty, etc.

And yet for all the good things that the care for little things can mean, we should also be careful not to be fall into an obsession for them so much so that we miss out the ore important or the essential things in life.

Nowadays, we can see many people who appear to be very attentive to the little and the ordinary things in life and yet miss life’s goal. There are people who tend to be so fastidious with little details that they fail to see the bigger picture.

In fact, today there seems to be a surge of people afflicted with the obsessive-compulsive anomaly. They can appear neat, clean and orderly, but they also practically kill and bury charity, understanding, flexibility, compassion.

They can seethe with what is called in spiritual language as bitter zeal. They tend to think that their ideas and ways are the best and should be the standard and measure for others to follow. Everyone and everything else should fit in their world order. Meeting this kind of people can actually be a nightmare.

With that kind of attitude, they tend to be quick to judge, to brand and stereotype people. They have rigid ways, and can end up always defensive and suspicious of others. Humility flees and pride sets in and digs deeper.

We have to do everything to avoid stumbling into this pitfall as we strive to lead a good human and Christian life that gives a lot of importance to the little and the ordinary things of our daily life.

We should see to it that our concern and care for the little things is truly motivated by love of God which, as a necessary consequence, also involves love for everyone else.

It should be charity that drives us to care for the little and the ordinary things, not just a pure fascination for order or efficiency. It should not be driven either by our urge to satisfy our merely personal, cultural or social preferences and conditions. In other words, our biases and prejudices that we all have.

We have to learn to go above our personal preferences, something that is possible only if we pray, if we are truly close to God and live the virtue of charity that knows how to understand, how to be flexible, how to forgive and take advantage of whatever, including mistakes, to forge a unity of life aimed at loving God and others.

To be sure, it is only when we are effectively with God that we would be enabled to marshall our care for the little and the ordinary things in life to true love. That’s why we have to constantly check on our intentions and motivations.

Many times there will be a need to purify these intentions and motivations. Human as we are, we cannot help but be driven by mere personal preferences instead of by true love.

This is nothing new, of course. We should be humble enough to acknowledge our weakness and seek the appropriate means to correct what is not quite right with us. We should avoid getting lost and entangled in the little things.