Caring about the small stuff in our lives

I grew up with stories of the saints. My favourites were in small green books with a beautiful picture depicting St Ursula or another of the memorable greats (such as St Catherine of Temora – er – Sienna) on the cover. What the stories all had in common was the strength of their personal relationship with our Lord, sometimes through His mother.

Aspects of these stories still recur in my mind when events prompt them today. St Zita, for example, was a simple servant who suddenly remembered during daily Mass (the only event she was permitted to attend) that she had left bread in the oven that was sure to burn. Upon returning home, she discovered that angels had removed it for her.

My absent-mindedness has caused a multitude of similar occasions in my life, yet they always seem to turn out fine when I give them to Jesus. He does care about the “small stuff” in our lives. Jesus’ turning the water into wine demonstrated that he knew what it was to be worried about embarrassment (and the story reminds us that he was not a teetotaller!) He understands what really worries us, even though it may be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, because he was fully human, too.

Many of the female saints struggled with husbands (in arranged marriages) and children who made poor choices. Yet with prayer and patient perseverance, their relationships frequently became more positive and their loved ones began to choose a Christian pathway. St Rita of Cascia put up with her abusive husband for 18 years before he was killed in a brawl and then had the heartache of seeing her sons die young, too. St Monica should have despaired of her son, Augustine, who seemed to have behaved much as university students today do, yet he became one of the greatest theologians of the Church.

We still have modern day saints in various ways. Most of us know someone who is a shining beacon of hope for those around them through their service, their positive attitude, or their willingness to do that bit extra for others. Our Catholic definition of a saint is someone who makes it to heaven – let’s hope that you and I will be saints, too, then!