“Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions” – St. Faustina
“Just offer him as much as you can with as much love as you can and let it go” he told me one day. This young and zealous friend knew what he was talking about and wanted me to understand the same.
We must have been talking about life that day and the numerous things that could be done for souls. Desires poured out and aspirations for great works of love and service were expressed. But just as a pixie cup is limited in its capacity to hold what the ocean has to offer, and equally limited in its ability to quench every thirst, so too were we who dreamt of holding the entirety of Christ’s love as an offering for the thirsting soul. Why?
Often, we forget the underlying importance of good works. Charity 101 tells us that good works are rooted in Christ’s love. This is 100% true in everyway. But, if the love of God is genuinely leading our actions then it follows that our works are according to God’s will. Is the magnanimity of our actions bowed down to the magnanimous will of God?
we could spend ourselves, hours on end , building a ministry that could potentially reach hundreds of young teens and young adults. A work that would be a praiseworthy movement. But what might be the determining factor of its success? After all the hard work what would it depend on?
The heart must be willing to hand over all of its toil to the Sanctifying will of the Father? To say something is a good work, is to acknowledge that the source of its undertaking is rooted in the love of the one who Wills it.
He could be calling us to great works within his Church and if so, he will provide the energy, strength, perseverance, humility, and pure love needed to carry it out. But he could also be calling us to the ordinary works of love. Jesus, who is Lord, lived a hidden life and when he began his ministry he lived a simple life. His simple actions held the depth of divinity and unity and that is why they were magnified to a glorious degree.
The motive for our undertaking could be for the love of God but it could also be for “the sake of a reward, out of fear of punishment, or as a form of self assertion”, to name a few (Kierkegaard). The oneness is suddenly gone and the heart that was once undivided becomes “double-minded” in motive. Its like telling someone “‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body. . . What good is that?” (James 2:16) we might seem humble and kind to other people but what, if anything, did we do for the one who sought our charity? did any good come from our efforts? Was it pleasing to God?
A small act of love can be just as effective as Christ’s ultimate work of love, His sacrifice on the cross. If we unite our works to his sacrifice then we offer a pleasing and acceptable act of love to the Father. Its not the act that makes it good, it is the disposition of the heart and its inclination to the heart of Christ. A pure intention is crucial and a strong prayer life is pivotal. But ultimately, whether we buy a big mac for a hungry man on the street or create a national outreach program, God looks at the love with which it was done and the surrender of the heart to the Will of the Father. Both works can be great and both have the potential of expanding into a beautiful garden of roses; all he needs is the single rose of charity he willed that we carry. Our pure and holy work equals God’s open door for love to flow. The world might see insignificance but the heart of the receiver sees divinity.
Looking at the responsibilities God has already placed before us such as our everyday work and duties, we can see countless opportunities for charity. Good works are born from the heart, from a oneness with Jesus. They are selfless in everyway. They are not big in nature but if God wills it, they can expand into a fragrant garden. If we allow him to use the single rose he willed that we carry.
“Add a supernatural motive to your ordinary professional work, and you will have sanctified it” St. Josemaria Escriba