While it’s true that we have to take care of the little things in our life, we should not forget that we are not meant to get detained there. We should always relate the little ordinary things in our life to the big and ultimate purpose of our life.
Christ himself somehow referred to this point when he said, “Whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Lk 16, 10)
With those words, Christ somehow was relating and connecting the little with the big things in life. That is what we should always do. We should avoid getting entangled and lost in the little things and forgetting the big and more important things in our life.
More specifically, we should not mistake the means for the end. Otherwise, we would also receive the accusation Christ addressed to the Pharisees and some leading Jews of his time, who were entangled with their own ideas of what is right and wrong without referring them to God.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,” he said, “you pay tithes of mint, dill and cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Mt 23, 23-24)
This anomaly can happen to us when in our confessions, for example, we accuse ourselves only of our failures to do our prayers, to offer sacrifices, to attend some daily Masses, etc., without mentioning how we have fared in our graver duty to do apostolate, to Christianize our work and society in general, to reach out to the poor and the needy, to be forgiving of others who may have wronged us, etc.
This is not to say that our prayers, sacrifices, recourse to the sacraments, etc., are not important. They are, and they should not be regarded as optional, as a matter of fact. They are indispensable too.
But if our failures in this department do not have the corresponding effects on the more important aspects of Christian life, there is reason to think that we are just mistaking the means for the end, the material for the spiritual, the temporal for the eternal, the natural for the supernatural.
We need to wake up from this anomaly, because like the Pharisees and the scribes of old, we could justly be accused by Christ to be hypocrites. And actually, many people today can also see that. We would simply be caring of the externals without the internal, the form and appearance without the substance.
The example we can give to others would show a certain hollowness and artificiality. And many people can detect that quite easily, because this phenomenon, sad to say, is getting common. Thus, we can expect people to be turned off by what they see in us.
They are now more familiar with how hypocrisy and artificiality look, how they sound, how they smell. They are now more skilled in sifting our words from our deeds, the image from the real McCoy. They can easily verify the authenticity of our words and actions.
To be able to connect the little things to the big, important things in our life is, of course, no easy task. It requires training, effort, self-discipline. It will always need God’s grace which we should always ask.
And given our human condition where our development involves different stages, let us hope that we do not remain in the kindergarten level in this respect, in the amateur and dilettante level. We have to aim at nothing less than the mature and professional level, where a certain consistency or unity of life that is rooted on God’s grace and on our constant effort, is achieved./WDJ