This morning as I drove to work in near blackness, so dark was the road, I wondered why I do this every morning. Why do I leave my house at 5:30 AM and risk hitting a lovesick deer to start my day at Mass? An unexpected traffic snafu made me later than usual, and as I hurried down the corridor to make it to the chapel without being late, I heard a voice behind me say: "Hey, what's the hurry?"
I thought of the time St. Therese reproached a novice for dilly dallying on her way to chapel.
"Is this how a mother of souls earns her children's keep?"
And I borrowed her line, saying I didn't want to be late to earning my children's livelihood. But what does that mean?
Some people are really wonderful at saving money. I'm not one of them. Unfortunately, the green stuff means very little to me, so I think nothing of it, which I suppose is an easy thing to say when you have a job. What I'd like to think I'm very good at investing in is the spiritual life. Every Rosary when I have a splitting headache and would rather just go to sleep; every early-morning Mass when I'm tired and would like to sleep for another hour; every unkind thought or word that I prevent from escaping my lips - all of it adds up.
It is not just for me that I do what I do.
"Pick up a pin from a motive of love", said St. Therese "and you may save a soul."
If a soul as nearly perfect as hers could profit spiritually from so simple an act, imagine what our greater sacrifices might yield for us and for those we hold dear.
As far as success stories go, I'm at the bottom of the totem pole in our family. I still live in the city. I don't have a vacation home or a pool out back. I don't have a luxury car. Most of my furniture is second-hand stuff picked up over the year. And you know what? I couldn't care less.
My investments have helped procure miracles, bring about conversions and ease the suffering of friends and relatives. I trust that the times that I have worthily received and offered the Eucharist for the intention of the souls in Purgatory may have won someone's release.
"But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." St. Paul Corinthians 2 4:7