by Lindsay Schlegel
The first section of today’s first reading is kind of a gut punch for me. At the end of each day, I’m accustomed to considering what I did and what I didn’t do. But only too rarely do I consider the way in which I accomplished whatever those things are.
Take today for instance:
I got the kids off to school . . . but how often did I raise my voice before we got in the car?
I folded the laundry . . . but did I grumble as I did it?
I played with the toddler . . . but did I rush him in his play as I worried about the mess we were making?
I picked the kids up . . . but was I a little late because I wanted to scroll through just one more image and read one more caption?
A Still More Excellent Way
Mother or not, there are a million things women do every day in service to God, our neighbor, and in care of ourselves. But as St. Paul tells us today, if we do not do these things with love, we are “a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.” More directly, he tells us that if we conduct ourselves without love, we gain nothing; we are nothing.
I can readily admit that I need to make a more conscious effort to perform the big and the little things with love. So what does that look like?
It means keeping gentleness, joy, patience, and peace at the fore of my mind to incorporate them into my actions. It means maintaining my interior peace even when things don’t go my way. It means cutting my kids some slack because they’re kids, after all, without unnecessarily lowering my expectations for their behavior.
More than anything, it means trusting that God’s in charge and I am not.
For me, that means keeping up with my practice of praying the Litany of Trust every morning and the Angelus at noon. It means checking myself when I feel my emotions start to rise, asking myself what exactly it is that I’m clinging to—Control? Power? Fear?
And which of these do I honestly think is going to satisfy the restlessness of my heart?
The End Goal
Once St. Paul elaborated on what love is—those lines so familiar to us from weddings and perhaps artwork in our homes—he reminds us what it is we’re all about as Christians: “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.”
Our lives here and now are but a taste of the so much more that awaits us beyond this world. This exhortation is a reminder to keep our eyes (and our hearts) on the prize, as it were. We can’t forget that our everyday responsibilities are opportunities to strive toward something more.
The things we do today, the sacrifices we make in the next hour, are not only about this world and the relationships we have here. They are worth so much more, which might sound intimidating, but really it is a cause to rejoice.
Our loving Father, in His mercy, has prepared an eternity for us that is more wonderful than we could possibly imagine. He only asks that we live today in the love He’s taught us. The love we were made for and the only thing in this world that can make us whole.
St. Paul, of course, says it better: “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
I pray that today you and I can live that greatness in a fresh and courageous way.
About the author:
Lindsay Schlegel is a daughter of God who seeks to encourage, inspire, and lift others up to be all they were created to be. Lindsay is a writer, editor, speaker, author, and podcast host. She lives in New Jersey with her family and would love to connect at lindsayschlegel.com.