Painting Well Your Little Corner of the World

In the eyes of God there is no ‘better’ way of making a living – if you are doing it for Him.

Let’s say that you’re a housekeeper cleaning the rooms of a low-rent motel. It’s not glamorous or easy. But you do good work. You’re working there to feed your family, in accordance with your state in life. Or you’re a nurse changing sheets at the nursing home. You’re doing work equivalent to or probably better than the greatest tycoon.

Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., in her book A Right to Be Merry, says of the old sister who can only clumsily sew from her infirmary bed:
“Sister would be propped up in bed, mending someone’s undergarments with great clumsy patches and generous stitches. But this was all the work she could do now. And so it must be shown to Mother Abbess. Foolish? Oh, no! The young nun writing books or painting canvases in oils may perhaps be doing something far less important in God’s eyes than is the old child in the infirmary patching under-tunics.”

She speaks of the obedience which is key:

“This is another of the marvels of living in obedience. No one is ever doing anything more important than you are, if you are obeying. A broom, a pen, a needle are all the same to God. The obedience of the hand that plies them and the love in the heart of the nun who holds them are what make an eternal difference to God, to the nuns, and to all the world.”

She writes about the joy of working on that which you’re supposed to be working on:
“Contemplative nuns freely elect to obey a monastic Rule inspired by God. The girl (ed: out in the world) pounding her typewriter may be pounding for nothing but dollars’ sake and wishing she could stop. The Poor Clare sweeping the monastery cloisters is doing it for God’s sake and prefers sweeping, at that particular hour, to any other occupation in the world.”

So don’t worry about moving up the ladder, or getting a great job or position at a prestigious company. Follow the example of the Poor Clare’s, who do what they are supposed to do, do it with obedience and joy, and do it as though it is the greatest job in the world – because it is.

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