I’m a dreamer. I have more plans and ideas than I can possibly execute. Ideas for apostolates, books, essays, blog posts, hobbies I want to pursue, and so much more. And I dream big. I read the writings of the saints who did heroic things, who wanted to conquer the world for Jesus Christ, and who set the world on fire with the love of God—and I want to do this as well.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with dreaming big. The apostles did. The martyrs did. The saints did. But there is a hidden danger in dreaming so big that we miss the often silent, subtle, and just as heroic duty of the present moment.
When one’s head is filled with grand plans, no matter how worthy, it is easy to think that the little things do not matter. But the constant witness of countless saints—such as St. Francis de Sales, St. Raphael Arnaiz Baron, St. Josemaria Escriva, and many more—is that heroism is very often found in the ordinary and mundane tasks that we would rather ignore.
The Will of God
Have you ever seen those “I’d rather be…” bumper stickers? I’d rather be fishing. I’d rather be flying. I’d rather be skiing. These stickers may be harmless, but the reveal a deep discontent with ordinary life. Souls are filled with what Thoreau described as a “quiet desperation.” I have also seen a bumper sticker that is actually quite good: “I’d rather be right here.”
Heroic sanctity is all about fulfilling the will of God, especially when it is difficult and contrary to our nature. And honestly, ordinary life can be hard. It can be boring, tedious, and frustrating—most especially when we’d rather be doing something big or extraordinary or fun.
But it is exactly this banality that God often asks of us, and if we don’t embrace it with all the zeal of a saint, our Lord will never entrust us with anything greater or more significant.
Faithful over a Little
The report at work. The flat tire. The bills. The dirty diaper. Taxes. The traffic jam. The annoying and rude person. Screaming kids. Loneliness. Boredom.
All of these things are the little duties that God requires of us. They are his will, and we must embrace them as such, not grudgingly, but with zeal and love. This is the science of the saints. In this is holiness found.
God may exalt you in due time and fulfill your grand schemes. Then again, he may not. His glory, not yours, is the object, and he knows best how to put you to use. But remember this: If you never do anything in life but embrace the will of God revealed in the small and hidden duty of the moment, you can still be a saint, and a very great saint.
One day, the hidden things, the secret things will be made known to all. And in that moment, we will see that, if they were done for love, they were not so small or insignificant after all.