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The Little Things of Life

Memorial of Saint John Neumann

First Reading: 1 John 4:7-10

Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only-begotten Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8

R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The mountains shall yield peace for the people,
and the hills justice.
He shall defend the afflicted among the people,
save the children of the poor.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Gospel: Mark 6:34-44

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply,
“Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food
and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out they said,
“Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples
to set before the people;
he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments
and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.

NAB

jan 5

Whenever I go clothes shopping (which I only do out of necessity), I instinctively say a prayer to find what I need for a good price in the right size and quickly. In some ways it seems silly to pray for that, but it is what I have always done. My mom always did when we went shopping growing up, especially for things like prom dresses or the right shoes for my flat, archless feet. And even for my wedding dress, which we found the first day we went shopping and bought off the rack for $99.

I have a lot of confidence in praying the shopping prayer. And if I do not find what I am looking for, I figure, I can do without it or I am just at the wrong store. But why do I pray it? What has my mom taught me in teaching me to pray for something that is just a small part of life? There are so many hard things for which we are asked to pray: for dying people, for sick people, for healthy pregnancies, for world peace, for so many weighty matters.

She taught me that the little things matter, too.

Jesus performed many miracles, curing sick, raising people from the dead, casting out demons. But He also attended to the more basic necessities, like one simple meal for a crowd of people.

Saint John encourages us to love one another, and then he gives God’s gift of His Son as an example of this love. And when I look at how Jesus loved, He loved the whole of each person. He loved their souls and their bodies. He healed both. He cared about the little things.

Because of my mom, I pray for the little things all the time. I pray for my baby to take a restful nap and to sleep well at night. I pray for my cold to go away. I pray to do my work well. I pray to care for my children well. I pray for the weather to be nice for important events. I pray to love better. And my children pray the same way. They love to pray for whatever comes to mind, because they know that God cares about the little things.

When we are in the habit of praying for every little thing, we become more confident in God’s love for us, and we find ourselves in constant conversation with Him. As you go through your day, don’t forget to ask God for the little things and thank Him for everything.

photo by Madi Myers-Cook

Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, new baby boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.

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