By Sarah Damm
One day, during the first trimester of pregnancy with my twins, I was talking to my neighbor. I was feeling quite sick, and even the thought of cooking dinner made me nauseous. I wondered how I was going to feed my family of five, while feeling so horrible.
My neighbor immediately offered to cook for my family. Without any hesitancy, she simply said she would double whatever she was cooking for her family and bring us dinner most evenings; she would tell me the days that wouldn’t work.
I paid her for groceries, but essentially, she cooked dinner for my family for that entire first trimester. I was blown away by her generosity; I still am.
Very few people know of her corporal work of mercy toward my family. And yet, the One who is most important knows … and is well pleased.
Most of the time, the way we live out our faith is quite hidden. Our husbands may know of the daily Rosary we pray for our children and extended family members. Our pastor may notice us at daily Mass. Our neighbor may recognize our service toward her with a grateful smile. But it is most likely that the majority of our acts of faith, kindness, and mercy will be anonymous. It is most likely that we won’t become famous, like Blessed Mother Teresa, for what we do in the name of Jesus Christ.
Today, we celebrate the Feast of St. Bartholomew. He is one of the 12 apostles, but he is lesser known than some of the others. In fact, he may be one that is somewhat anonymous.
Bartholomew didn’t become as “famous” as St. Peter or St. John, and yet his faithfulness to Christ is not inferior. Jesus saw something special in Bartholomew: “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him” (John 1:47).
Jesus’ recognition of Bartholomew’s faithfulness is all that matters. And in Bartholomew’s inconspicuousness, he is raised up in the Kingdom of God.
Recognition, pats on the back, accolades. These things don’t make us better Catholics; these things don’t make what we do count more. In fact, I’d go so far as to say the faith-filled things we do that go unnoticed are probably worth more to Jesus than anything we are recognized for. Because our hidden, quiet acts of faith are offered in love to Him alone.
St. Bartholomew, pray for us.