Living an Extra (Ordinary) Life
November 03, 2020
Hello, dear friends. Ian from sunny Sydney here. It’s a big few days in America with the election and we all around the world watch on eagerly with prayerful hearts.
Recently, I came across a little-known Saint, Alphonsus Rodriguez, who lived in Spain in the 1500s. Rodriguez was in his 40s, a widower, with no children and a bankrupt, who on seeking to join a Jesuit monastery was told he was too old and too uneducated to become a priest. He was sent to a Jesuit College on the island of Majorca where he served as a porter and doorkeeper. He turned door-keeping into a sacramental duty. Every time the doorbell rang, he would say, “I’m coming, Lord!” and would then welcome the visitor as Christ himself.
Many brilliant young priests passed through the college. Alphonsus welcomed each one lavishly and many of them turned to him for spiritual counsel. One of them was a man named, Peter Claver, who began meeting with Alphonsus, now 72, on a daily basis. The doorkeeper encouraged the young priest to travel to South America where he devoted his life to caring for slaves, for which he was later recognized as a saint.
Alphonsus Rodriguez was also made a saint, canonized for his own brand of quiet heroism expressed in a life of humility, hospitality and friendship that impacted vast numbers of people across the globe.note
Our Little Lives
Sometimes we can question whether we’re making our lives count. We’re just going about our days as spouse, parent, employee/employer, friend, sibling, child and on wondering whether we’re really making any impact. Inherent in all of us is a desire for significance. Perhaps this drive is stronger in men, I don’t know, but we can also let it lead us astray in chasing after the ‘big’ thing that will make us feel better about ourselves and fill us with pride for being a ‘somebody’.
We’re already significant, aren’t we, in the simple fact that God, the creator of the universe has chosen to give each of one of us, life. That’s right, our God thinks we’re pretty awesome because He made us. We were significant before we were born because God thought of us before we even made an appearance in the womb.
The Great Commission
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20a NIV)
We’re all familiar with these verses and for many of us we can feel burdened by thinking we’re not doing anything ‘great’ for the Kingdom. Or we might feel this is someone else’s responsibility, that is, those people specifically called to a ministry role of some description.
But, no, we are all called to make disciples. Yes. Every single one of us. But we don’t have to be burdened by it; we can in fact be playing our part by continuing to live out our own little lives. For most of us, the Great Commission will be outworked in our own homes, schoolyards, workplaces, cafes and such like.
Alphonsus Rodriguez provides us with the example. “Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14 NIV). We get to choose how we treat everybody we come across today: “I’m coming, Lord!”
Like Alphonsus, we may never know the impact such an attitude might have on our legacy. He most likely had no knowledge that Peter Claver was canonized for his role in South America having passed away long before.
Often, we get stuck in thinking we have to do something significant.
“Start where you are, where you can be of service, not a hero.” (Joan Chittister)
Start with your spouse. Start with your kids even if they’re driving you nuts. Start with your work colleagues. Choose love. Choose to think you’re addressing the King of Kings. You’ll be surprised how once you start, you’ll keep doing it. And then it spreads. Love begets love. Care begets care.
And in the ordinariness of life, something extraordinary begins to take root.
“I’m coming, Lord!”
Grace and peace, dear friends
Note: my inspiration for this post came from Lectio365 Monday 2 November 2020 Devotional titled: Alphonsus Rodriguez: Hero of Hospitality.