Rosemary Bogdan contemplates how we can each build God’s kingdom in our everyday lives by opening ourselves to the power of God’s love.
If the world, the flesh, and the devil tell you that your work is not meaningful or significant, don’t believe the lie. All work is significant, including and especially that work that is perhaps unpaid, but motivated by a deep love. Let’s not forget the words of dear Mother Teresa:
What I can do, you cannot. What you can do, I cannot. But together we can do something beautiful for God.
Do the small things done with great love build the kingdom? They surely do. As Mother Teresa said:
Do ordinary things with great love.
The Catechism says, “Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing “the will of my Father in Heaven.” (CCC 2826) Is it the Father’s will that the baby’s diaper be changed? Yes, of course! Wiping the runny nose? Putting a band-aid on the skinned knee and kissing it? We know that these are the caregiver’s duties and that it is God’s will that they be done. If you are a mom doing these tasks, count your blessings. The world may not esteem this work, but God does. These are the small things and may we never miss the opportunity to do them with great love.
Does a mother thus build the kingdom of God?
As St. John Paul II said in the year 2000,
The kingdom is thus God’s effective but mysterious action in the universe and in the tangle of human events. (L'Osservatore Romano)
Do you ever feel like your life is a series of tangled human events? As the mother of a large family, I know there were times that I did. May we never lose sight of the reality of this effective but mysterious action that is, in fact, the kingdom of God.
There are days when everything is coming at us at once, as though we are in the midst of a battle. And we are. We are defending the kingdom as we hold our children fast and love them with a strength that can only come from God. Again, from St. John Paul II:
The human person is thus called to work with his hands, mind and heart for the coming of God’s kingdom into the world. This is especially true of those who are called to the apostolate and are, as St. Paul says, "fellow workers for the kingdom of God" (Colossians 4:11), but it is also true of every human person.
As we love our families we are working for the coming of the kingdom — the kingdom that is here now and the kingdom that is coming to completion. It is God’s will that the needs of the domestic church be tended to. We are his sheep.
Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, leading the ewes with care. (Isaiah 40:11)
He is with us. He carries our lambs and leads us with care. Isn’t that a beautiful image? He is gently leading us and helping us by carrying our lambs. We are not alone.
God meets us where we are. Sometimes it’s at the sink as we’re scrubbing pots. Sometimes it’s when we make a child his favorite cookies. At other times it’s when we are calling a friend who we know is lonely. Or helping a child practice a musical instrument. And, yes, He is with us as we set limits on our children’s behavior because he too wants them to learn the right way to behave.
Think of the women on the way to the tomb on Easter morning. They were going to perform a duty, to anoint the body of our Lord. And he met them on the way. He could have appeared first to the Apostles in the upper room. No, he chose the women on their way to perform for him a duty of love, a duty they would perform with their hands. He wanted to console them and to announce to them the joy of the Resurrection. Jesus meets us where we are.
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As we love our families we are working for the coming of the kingdom — the kingdom that is here now and the kingdom that is coming to completion. #catholicmom
There will be days when we most definitely do not feel as though we are building the kingdom. There are days we feel provoked by every little thing and we fail repeatedly. In Magnificat’s publication on 9/10/21, Catherine Doherty gives us these encouraging words:
Christ stands by you and gathers the fragments of your self discipline, of your intention, and uses it joyfully for souls across the world. You give life to the rest of the Mystical Body. Then the mystery of atonement opens before us. We can offer ourselves with Christ our head in atonement for our sins and those of our neighbors. Incredible—my offering of myself as a sacrifice, for others and for myself. This is part of the tremendous vision of what it means to be a member of the Mystical Body.
Indeed, we build the kingdom whenever we lovingly respond to what Catherine Doherty called the “duty of the moment.” We are part of the Mystical Body, an essential part. And as we perform each simple or difficult task, allowing God’s grace to flow through us, we are shown the path to holiness, the path to Christ.
Oh Lord, please help us to open our hearts to the power of your love, that everything we do would help to build Your kingdom!
Copyright 2021 Rosemary Bogdan
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Rosemary Bogdan is a wife, mother of six adult children, and a grandmother. She homeschooled her children when they were young and currently substitute teaches at her favorite Catholic school. When not spending time with her family, Rosemary writes at A Catholic Mother's Thoughts and Catholic365.com.