Here is today’s Gospel, from St Matthew: ‘ Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.”’
Great things can come from small beginnings – and the smallest events of our lives can have great implications.
St Thérèse of Lisieux built her entire spirituality on ‘small events’: ‘You know it has ever been my desire to become a Saint, but I have always felt, in comparing myself with the Saints, that I am as far removed from them as the grain of sand, which the passer-by tramples underfoot, is remote from the mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds. … I concluded that God would not inspire desires which could not be realised, and that I may aspire to sanctity in spite of my littleness. For me to become great is impossible. I must bear with myself and my many imperfections; but I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way—very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new’. This way would consist in practising the ‘little virtues’, hidden and unseen for the most part. She said: ‘You must practice the little virtues. This is sometimes difficult, but God never refuses the first grace—courage for self-conquest; and if the soul correspond to that grace, she at once finds herself in God’s sunlight’.
What are the little virtues? The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us these: ‘parrhesia, (boldness or frankness of speech); straightforward simplicity, filial trust, joyous assurance, humble boldness, the certainty of being loved’.
May we be given the grace to practise these – and may God bless you this day.