This hasn't been the best week for me. I reinjured my back on Monday doing something as stupid as picking a dish-towel up from the floor. My sciatic nerve is on fire and screams every time I sit, stand or lie down. In short, there is almost no comfortable position. I was tempted not to go Daily Mass because sitting in a pew is particularly excrutiating but I recalled the words of St. Therese in the early throes of her illness, before she was forced to take permanently to her bed. "I do not consider it too much to win one Holy Communion" she said, in reference to the gargantuan effort it took her simply to get to the chapel. It was those words that inspired me to get to Mass and spend some time before-hand in Adoration. My concern is in not making a spectacle of myself because despite my best efforts, this simply isn't the kind of pain that is easily masked with a smile, as our great Saint might have managed. So, I have tried to make the most of it, as Therese did, by offering it and the self-consciouness that goes with it for the intention of a priest who is finding it difficult to carry his cross, for those in Haiti still reeling in pain with no respite in sight, and for anyone whose burden can be eased by the anonymous minute sacrifice of another.
Why did I share this? To call attention to myself and garner sympathy? My reasoning was to observe how not too many years ago, I would have thought nothing of skipping out on Sunday Mass. Now I can't stand the thought of a single day without the Eucharist. This is just one of the many "little ways" in which St. Therese has helped pull me along the path of holiness. "I can still stand on my feet",she said, "and so I must be about my duty."
One day, as a novice was dawdling on her way to one of the community's spiritual exercises, Therese chastised her: "Is this how a mother with children to feed conducts herself?" OK, so we're not all Carmelites. Nonetheless, there is nothing to stop us from making every small act an act of love to win souls for God. It's the best way to honor the little Saint who refused Him nothing.