Sanctity in the Small Things

As Jesus watched at the entrance of the Temple the money being thrown into the treasure-box, He did not pay so much attention to the rich and their large sums that they threw in. Indeed they wanted to be seen and applauded for their abundance given ostentatiously.

Then a poor widow threw a few small coins in the treasure box barely amounting to anything! This was the person that Jesus looked at with great love and approval. Why? Not for the economic substance of her offering—it was barely anything. Rather, Jesus read the depths of her heart. She was giving generously all that she had to live on.

The message is the following: man can see and judge from mere appearances. But Jesus reads the inner movements of the human heart.  What often is worthy of praise in the eyes of the world, Jesus despises.  On the contrary, what the world deems as insignificant, Jesus highly approves and praises.

St. Therese and her Little Way can be our way and the way and path to holiness! Holiness does not depend simply on the greatness of the action, but rather on the intensity of love that accompanies the action.


In other words the secret to holiness is on a daily basis trying to do the ordinary things of daily life with extraordinary love.  That is the key! So much so that St Therese was known to say:  “Pick up a pin for the love of God and you can save a soul.”  Picking up a pin, physically speaking is no big deal!  However, if this action is done in the Presence of God, for the intention of pleasing God and with great purity of intention, then indeed, it has infinite value in the eyes of God.

Most of us are not involved in monumental and monolithic activities that will make the front page of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. On the contrary, many of our actions are the most ordinary and mundane. But they can have infinite value if we know the secret of offering it up to God.

Most of the normal activities of a homemaker do not make the newspaper or the 6:00 p.m. news. Sweeping the floor, taking out the garbage, buying, preparing, serving meals and then after cleaning pots, and pans and dishes—all of these are the glorious routine of thousands of home-makers and Moms.

If the Mom does this all with an attitude of complaining, with a scowl on her face and playing out the role of the poor victim, then her merit in the eyes of God is reduced to almost nothing.

However, if this Mom rises in the morning offering her day to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, willingly offers everything she does to please God, to  sanctify her family and to save souls, then her action has great value.

What can be of infinite value for the sanctification of the daily actions are two specific intentions and actions. We do our actions through the powerful intercession of Mary, “God’s masterpiece of creation,” uniting our actions to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

First, the importance of going to Jesus through the intercession of Mary.  Mary is the short-cut to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  St. Louis de Montfort paints this image. A poor man wants to give a bruised apple to the King.  No way will the poor man have access to the King; much less will the King receive the apple, especially a bruised apple. However, if the poor man knows the Queen and the Queen has a real affection for this poor man. Then the Queen can take the apple, clean it, polish it, and place it on a golden platter, next to a beautiful rose.  The King, loving the Queen, receives the apple most willingly; not because of the quality of the apple but because of the person who gave him the apple, his lovely bride the Queen.

Therefore for us it must be the same! Our actions are like the apple. In and of themselves our actions are often tainted and spoiled by our enormous self-love and egotism. However, if we can give ourselves and our actions to Jesus through the hands and heart of the Queen, then the King—Jesus who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords—will not refuse it.  In other words, Mary can help to ennoble and sanctify our smallest actions.

Second, we must unite our actions and intentions with Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Every Holy Mass that is offered has infinite value. Why? For the simple but profound reason that Jesus is offering Himself as Victim of expiation to the Father.  The Father looks at His Son and says: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The Father can deny His Son nothing!

Now how is this translated from the mystical into the practical? Not too complicated! Go to Mass, but arrive early before Mass has started. Give yourself at least a good 15 minutes.

Now open up your heart to the fullest with an infinite trust in Jesus, His love for the Father, His love for you and His love for the entire world. In opening your heart place all that you were, are, and will be on the altar before Mass has even started. Your day and your activities—place them now all on the altar, everything absolutely everything—hold nothing back! Your cooking, cleaning, your battle with your teenage son, your struggle with your husband, your fear of the future and insecurities in the present, your slight headache and clouded mind!

The key is that you want to place all on the altar even before Mass has started. You are offering yourself and all that you have been, are and all that you will be offering to the Lord in the course of the day. Every minute detail of who you are what you are about, what you would desire for yourself and your family has an infinite importance for Jesus. Nothing escapes the loving eye of Jesus. He knows even the numbers of the hairs on your head and when one falls to the ground! The Lord Jesus indeed cares for the whole world but for each and every one of us individually.

Then when Mass is being offered, especially during the Consecration of His Body and Blood, all that you have placed on the altar is being lifted on high to the Majestic Throne of the Eternal Father who sees you but in His beloved Son in whom He is well-pleased. To this Son He can deny nothing.

Then, even more important, receive Holy Communion into the depths of your soul. If your are well-disposed with a burning heart filled with love for the Lord Jesus then there will be an explosion of graces.   Your small actions will have infinite value because your smallest of actions have been offered to the Eternal Father through the loving Heart of Jesus.

In sum, let us learn the art of sanctity. It is not so much in the greatness of the action, but in the purity of intention. However of paramount importance is learning to offer ourselves to God through the pure and Immaculate heart of Mary and through Jesus the spotless Victim offered to God the Father in the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Fr. Ed Broom, OMV


Father Ed Broom is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary and the author of Total Consecration Through the Mysteries of the Rosary and From Humdrum to Holy. He blogs regularly at Fr. Broom's Blog.

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