"Pick up a pin from a motive of love and you may save a soul." - St. Therese
St. Therese denied herself food and water and made other sacrifices to win salvation for Henri Pranzini. She called him her first child.
She hadn't yet entered a monastery when she did this.
You and I don't have to enter a monastery to make little sacrifices to help win salvation for a lost soul.
The graces dispensed by Our Lord are so immeasurable that even thought we don't deserve them, He showers them on us nonetheless.
St. Therese often spoke of the ingratitude and ceaseless complaining of "His friends in the world".
When a novice confided in her that she would save her tears for the Lord, St. Therese asked her: "Would you be as the ordinary souls?"
Our Lord does not demand of us the heroic virtue practiced by St. Therese. There are times when I worry that adding a penance to my prayers would appear to make them conditional, like expecting extra credit for answering a bonus question on an exam. But when you realize how little most of the world does for Christ, I don't think it's asking too much to do all we can for Him while we have the chance, if we are able.
Today Rebecca and I spent a very pleasant afternoon with a former co-worker who invited us to her development to play tennis, swim and cook out for lunch. Shortly before I left the job, this co-worker and I and my two girls were going to a baseball game together. The weather forecast was not at all promising and it looked like a giant "if" whether or not the game would be played.
My friend is a lapsed Catholic. We have all encountered the kind. You ask them to consider going back to church and they tell you God doesn't need them to come to Mass to know they love Him and that being a good person should be sufficient for a benevolent God to allow them into Heaven.
My friend was so looking forward to the game and she talked for a days prior about her concern for the weather. That Friday, I brought her a little satchel with a card tucked inside it. Within the satchel was a Rosary I had gotten as a gift in the mail. The card was a simple "how to pray the Rosary" guide. I told my friend if she really wanted to see the game she should consider praying and she laughed and asked me if I wanted God to send a monsoon.
Well, you know how it is. You plant a seed and then you try to have the patience to see it develop.
At lunch today, we talked at length about the man we worked with who had fallen ill. As we speak, he is still in very critical condition. My friend told me that everyone at work was so happy to hear that I was praying for him. Then she pulled me aside, out of Rebecca's hearing, and a bit awkwardly, asked me on what bead she should pray the doxology. At first, I didn't quite grasp what she was telling me. But then I realized that she had been trying to pray the Rosary I gave her.
Is this earth-shattering news? No, but it is edifying. It is why I feel compelled to go above and beyond, even if it subjects me to ridicule.