Recently on The Inner Life, Josh Raymond shared the story of a Reddit user who gave an example of how little things can sometimes lead to monumental, life-changing events.
The story begins with a man who needed to get somebody’s phone number, so he called the operator from a payphone. After getting the information he needed, he hung up, but the operator accidentally refunded the money to the pay phone. She called the pay phone back and asked the man to please reinsert the coins. He did so and hung up. The operator, becoming increasingly flustered and embarrassed did this two more times! After the third time, the man began to chat with the operator and he asked for her number. They went out for coffee and four years later, they got married. Those two people were this Reddit user’s parents and they’ve now been married for over 50 years. The man often jokes that that was the most expensive phone call he ever made.
Josh likened the big impact of small acts to the example of St. Therese of Lisieux. She often said that we should not let any opportunity for small mortification or sacrifice pass us by. Those small things, done with great love, have massive effects on our souls and the souls of others. Josh welcomed back Father Marcel Taillon to discuss the spirituality and significance of St. Therese.
St. Therese, who joined the Carmelites when she was young, had dreams of becoming an international missionary and bringing Christ to the farthest reaches of the world. However, God had other plans for how she would reach people across earth. Instead of physically travelling, her example and way of life would travel far and wide long after her death and even still today. Often called “The Little Flower”, Therese had her “little ways” of exemplifying Christ’s example during her short stay on earth.
Before Therese could have a chance to travel the world, she contracted Tuberculosis and died at the age of 24. Though she wasn’t able to live for very long, she was tremendously close to Our Lord and had deep insight into the plan of God. She lived those 24 years with an fervency for Christ that drew others to her example. She even said once that she knew she would bring more people to Christ after her death than before it, which is undoubtedly true.
Her example is an attractive one because while she never left her convent, she died to herself every single day, made sacrifices for her sisters, offered up every little mortification, including the pain of chronic illness, and now she is world-renowned. She is beloved by the Church recognized as a role model for showing love in the little ways. She is the youngest saint to have been declared a Doctor of the Church and has significantly less spiritual writings than her peers. That shows how much one can accomplish, even stunted by age, illness, and relegated to the confines of a convent.
Mother Teresa once said, “We can do no great things – only small things with great love.” By living a selfless life, one taken up for the sake of others, we are capable of transforming small, thoughtless acts into enormous signs of love. Others may not notice. But God does, because God is love.
Listen to the full conversation below:
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