Thursday, November 20, 2014
Doing the Ordinary in an Extraordinary Way
"Holiness doesn’t mean doing extraordinary things, but doing ordinary things with love and faith." These words appear in Pope Francis' Tweet for Dec. 13, 2013. Sister Claudia Hae-in Lee writing in the Seoul Diocesan Bulletin gives us her thoughts on these words. She prays that her ordinary life, motivated by love will become a beautiful and exquisite flower.
In the one of the rooms of her convent there are many scrolls on the walls, Chinese Characters expressing words of wisdom; one of them is the 'ordinary mind'. She mentions the wisdom from the writings of St.Therese: to do the common things with uncommon love.
Also from the Analects of Confucius, Chapter 14-45 we have the 修己安人 (Making our self better gives peace to others) cultivating ourselves, practicing the virtues, so we can give peace to others.
When the sister is asked for an autograph she writes: 'may all your days be renewed daily'. Although she has lived in the convent for half a century she does not find living the ordinary life in an extraordinary way with humility, patience, and with love, easy. Eating, cleaning, washing, working, writing, reading, meeting people, etc. and to do it with a prayerful heart, and to the best of her ability is not easy. When this is accomplished the happiness that comes is not confined to one place, but prepares the foundation that opens us up to the pain in the world, our care for neighbor, and to be of service to others.
She wants to experience her journey of faith in a special way, she wants to relate in a special way with others, in the field of literature she wants to be more elegant, and quietly vanity creeps in and annoys her. But she knows without the ordinary she will not get to the special. Without the tedious, and the desert like experience, she will not be subdued and matured by the ordinary.
Looking back on her life she sees times that were not ordinary and she has cried much, but she is looking forward to the ordinary and the joy and song that will come. She wants to invite all of us to walk this way of the ordinary
"Lord, today give me the grace to accept the ordinary boredom that comes. Make me remember that faithfulness is the first step in the way of the spirit."