Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A number of years ago, the comedian Kevin James had a special entitled “Sweat the Small Stuff.” In his typical style, he poked fun at the little things that we do every day, the small things that bother us, the silly things we worry about. That he did so with hardly a profanity was impressive in itself, but more impressive was how clearly he showed just how much all of us tend to sweat the small stuff. But what if the small stuff, rather than causing sweat, caused us to recognize our own ability to be faithful?
In the Gospel, Jesus teaches us that fidelity in small matters indicates our ability to faithful in greater matters. Should you be entrusted with a small responsibility and live up to that trust, you instantly become a candidate for something more important. Of course, our Lord is not speaking merely of temporal responsibilities. On the contrary, He is speaking to the heart of the spiritual life. This personal relationship we experience with God can be intimidating. We see the example of the saints and their intensity of love for God and naturally wonder if we can ever measure up. This is why Jesus calls us to be faithful in small matters, to be faithful in what matters to God.
It is important to remember that growth in the spiritual life is gradual and requires perseverance and patience. We read in the Psalms, “Zeal for your house consumes me,” (Ps. 69:9) and looking at the heroic lives of saints, we see tangible proof of such zeal. Comparing our own thoughts, words, and actions to those great examples of faith, we can easily wonder if we are consumed by zeal for God. So let’s take Jesus where he starts: with the small stuff. Let’s get the basics down. Look at your Baptismal promises: do you reject Satan and all his works and empty promises? Do you believe what we say in the Creed? Then look at the Commandments: do we follow them…all ten? Then look at the Precepts of the Church (there are 5) – am we living them? That’s the small stuff. If we “sweat the small stuff” – that is, if we care about them and realize that they are foundational and important – we are on track to grow in our faith. If we’re not sweating, we need to start.
Once we have examined the small things required for a healthy spiritual life, worked on our fidelity in small matters of faith, Jesus desires to entrust us with more, to call us even deeper into His Heart, to build us up into souls truly on fire with zeal for Him. Saints are canonized for lives of heroic virtue. Remember that virtue means simply habitually choosing the good. The more we form habits of doing good, the easier goodness becomes. Likewise, the more we form habits of prayer, good habits in the spiritual life, the easier it becomes to live in a relationship with God. As that relationship becomes more natural to us, our fidelity in those small things begins to pay off. Fidelity to the things of God has the effect not only of giving God glory, but of opening our hearts more and more to the love of God, to the needs of our brothers and sisters, and to the knowledge of what we ought to do each day. Jesus doesn’t expect His disciples to be heroes instantly, as soon as they say yes to His invitation to follow. Rather, He teaches that discipleship is a daily journey. Our fidelity to that journey even in the smallest things is a source of growth, something that will help us to be close to God. So this week, we must face the question: Am I faithful in the things that matter to God? Am I willing to sweat the small stuff, not to the end that I become fearful or annoyed, but that I might form those heroic virtues that benefit my own soul and the holiness of others? May God give all of us the grace we need to be faithful in small matters, in the things that matter to Him, so that we may be entrusted with even more grace and build up His Kingdom here until the day when His Kingdom will be all in all in the glory of Heaven.