“No matter what her (Mary) jobs were – ordinary, commonplace or seemingly more important ones – they revealed to her, sometimes quite clearly and sometimes obscurely the activity of the Almighty and were an opportunity for her to praise God”
Abandonment Divine Providence 1:1
Washing the dishes, hiking to the top of a mountain, mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, spending an hour in Adoration, sending some emails or doing admin tasks, going to the supermarket, visiting a friend, dusting and vacuuming, having a poignant and meaningful conversation. If we take on the wisdom shared with us in the spiritual classic Abandonment to Divine Providence, written by Jean-Pierre De Caussade, then each and every one of these experiences has the potential to reveal to us the activity of the Almighty and to give us an opportunity to praise God.
Now I don’t know about you, but my experience is that I can tend to forget that God wants to reveal himself to me in every moment, and be present with me in every moment, particularly if I am in the midst of something I see as mundane and commonplace, like washing dishes yet again, or cleaning a bathroom. When I do these things, I am much more likely to be focused on what comes next, when I have got them out of the way. It’s like I carry a largely unconscious thought process that once these things are done I can move onto the real ways of connecting with God.
But this could not be further from the truth - It was on my recent solitude that I was reading this book – I came across this quote in the first few pages and I did not get much further because I sensed there was a profound invitation on offer for me. I was being reminded that God does not need the spectacular to communicate his love for me and to be present with me. He is already there – all the time – lovingly waiting for me to open my heart and turn my gaze toward him.
It got me thinking though, perhaps loving and embracing the ordinary turns it into something extraordinary. After all, if God is present with me in what I see as ordinary, then perhaps it is actually far from ordinary anyway.
In the book, the context of this quote was in reference to Mary. She lovingly welcomed the Saviour of the world in seemingly ordinary conditions – there was no room at the inn. Yet her yes, and her willingness to embrace what was asked of her brought forth something that was clearly extraordinary. The activity of the Almighty was clear, and she clearly praised God in words and ways that have echoed through the generations, meaning that we too can be touched by this gift.
So my challenge to myself – and perhaps to you as well – is to embrace the ordinary and commonplace parts of my day, trusting that these too are an opportunity to witness the activity of the Almighty and to praise God.