Back to the basics

Convent Thoughts by Charles Allston Collins

I remember as a young novice going to my Abbess, Mother Angelica, and enthusiastically telling her my plans for Lent.  It was quite a list! I had all sorts of things I was going to give up and do.  I was determined that this was going to be the best Lent yet!

She listened patiently as I reeled off a long list of all kinds of things.

Finally, after I finished my litany and waited for Reverend Mother’s permission to go ahead with my grand plan, she said, “Well, that’s all very nice, but how about just getting back to the basics?”

“The basics?” I said in bewilderment.  This wasn’t quite the answer I had hoped for or expected.

“Yes, the basics!  You know, how about all the things you are supposed to be doing and have let slip, or gotten sloppy with.  How about concentrating on a few key things, and really working at them.  Because what’s the point of doing this grand thing, if you’re lax on the essentials!”

At first I was a little crestfallen, but as I went away and reassessed my initial “program for perfection”, and thought and prayed about those wise words, I understood how right she was.

I began to see some pretty basic things that I had become a little shortsighted about – simple but important.

It was a good lesson for me, and one that I try to keep constantly in mind:  Be faithful to the small things; though seemingly unimportant, they are the very things upon which everything else hinges and rests.

I am reminded of the words of Dom Columba Marmion:  Fidelity in small things, is the most delicate flower of love, to which nothing is little.

While it is good and necessary to do extra things for Lent, it is always most important to remember those little things!

4 thoughts on “Back to the basics

  1. I love this beautiful picture! Your insightful and wonderful words about Lent remind me of Mother Teresa’s words “to do small things with great love, ordinary things with extraordinary love.” If only everyone in our world would do this! Thank you Sister Grace Marie! Jayne

  2. Your beautiful words really ring true for me, Sister. After being away from the Church for such a long while, I find myself attempting to do too much, go in too many directions, its all counter-productive. Even down to the most minute detail, like giving up chocolate for Lent. Just hours after I made my solemn promise, there I was, tearing away at a bag of chocolate chips (bittersweet) and helping myself to more than just a few! However, last night I attended the Stations of the Cross at our little stone church and it all became much clearer for me. Saying the simple, yet powerful prayers filled my heart and made me cry. All the unending love and mercy Our Lord has for us, it truly is humbling. I realize staying faithful to Him by attending Mass, Confession, receiving the Eucharist, praying the Rosary, showing love, forgiveness and charity to others are perhaps the most basic and best ways I can thank Him. Thank you, Sister! Doreen

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