Core Decorum: Loving in the little ways

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Illustration courtesy of Cecilia Lang.

Having recently celebrated St. Therese’s feast day, I’ve been reminded of the particular value she found in loving God through all her actions, even the most minuscule.  

St. Therese famously said, “Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love.”

It is easy to overlook the small opportunities to love God. Because they are small, they are hard for us to recognize and may even seem insignificant.

These opportunities are only hard for us to recognize because they are constantly present to us. The majority of our lives are made up of simple, small moments. 

We need only look around ourselves in any given moment, and we are guaranteed to find an opportunity to love God better.  

St. Therese found a way to be present in those moments. Whether it was washing a dish out of love for God, smiling at another person or refraining from words of complaint, she grasped any opportunity to intentionally love God, no matter how unimportant it may have seemed to others.   

As to  whether these small deeds carry significance, many might simply credit them as training wheels of sorts, a preparation for bigger, greater actions in the future.  

While it is true that it will be hard to love God in great ways if we do not love him in the small, to simply look at small actions as a preliminary to greatness would be missing the point. 

There is  inherent greatness to doing small actions with love. If you’re willing to love in small ways, how much more does it prove that your love is genuine? Loving in small ways reveals the intensity of the love This love is so present that it permeates every action of the one who loves, even down to their smallest deed. 

Now, this is not to discount the importance of great deeds, for many are called to accomplish great actions in their lives. 

Rather, this is a reminder that God does not measure actions based on their size, but whether love was at their root. 

St. Therese said, “Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.” 

Because love is what makes the deed, we can similarly say: with love, deeds, even the smallest, count as everything.

The choice to put love into everything we do, whether it be in big and small deeds, reflects the greatness of one’s heart.  

With this perspective in mind, we can have no excuses for being absent from these little ways to love.

We can no longer overlook the countless opportunities we have to choose love.

Whether this means spending two more minutes in the chapel then planned, writing an essay without complaining, giving up your seat at a crowded event for someone else or simply speaking kind words to another, there is no shortage of opportunities to love God. 

Most likely, we’ll days ahead of us that will call for great actions, but we need not wait for those in order to love God. We can start now, and we can start small. 

Where shall we begin? 

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