By Lauren Roach
The glory of a mundane job lies in offering it up to God. I think about Mary, day in and day out, making meals for her family, sweeping the floor, washing the clothes of Jesus and Joseph. All for the glory of God. She did not have a flashy existence before Christ lifted her heavenward. She toiled in the mundane alongside Joseph. Whenever I am confronted with the bland data entries or routine phone calls, I try to offer it all up to God.
Offering it up is such a simple and beautiful concept, but sometimes I find myself saying this in my heart out of habit. Until a priest rocked my world in a short and simple daily homily. This Spanish speaking priest told a story about a young Spanish man.
The young man was helping his grandmother prepare for a family feast. While standing alongside her in the kitchen chopping vegetables, he contemplated the normality and simplicity of his grandmother’s life’s work- cleaning, cooking, and feeding her family for decades. He was home from university packed with dreams of making it big as a medical doctor or studious law professor. She spoke frequently about the faith with him and love for Christ infused these family gatherings. But he questioned and wrestled with living his faith out in the world. He did not have time for hours of prayer and going to mass everyday. As a student, the normality of studying and working governed his schedule.
At first, the monotonous crunch of the vegetables breaking under the knife’s pressure dominated the conversation. All of a sudden he turned to her and asked, “Mima, what would you do if Jesus walked in the room right now?”
The mantra “live like you’re dying” was on his mind. He expected his Mima to respond with acts of piety or prayers or going to the church. Instead, her response surprised him. She stopped chopping for a moment, picked up her knife, and lovingly waving it at him said, “I would keep chopping...Surely Jesus would be hungry and wanting a delicious meal.”
This woman constantly lived the presence of God. Prayer for her was not limited to kneeling, fingering beads, or attending mass. God was not a distant omnipotent being she worshipped. No, she discovered and lived the truth that God is a Father fully present in our daily lives. And He calls us to serve differently at various times and seasons. She confidently knew that God wanted her to love Him by serving her family in that moment with good food. Over the course of her life, she had learned and embodied “offer it up.”
Offering it up is not just a Catholic catch-phrase. It is a beautiful and simple reminder to live out our divine filiation by always maintaining the presence of God, no matter where we are and what we are doing. After hearing this story at a noon mass in the midst of my work day, I walked out of the Church with the same mundane tasks ahead of me. Data entry, routine phone calls, and responding to emails. But with a different perspective. Christ wanted me there and wanted to meet me at my desk.
What if Jesus walked in the room right now? I want to live in the confidence that I do not need a flashy job or ministry position to be serving and loving Our Lord. All I need is to live my divine filiation and call upon His presence in all things. If that means working in a Diocese or sitting at a corporate desk, I want to remember Jesus is waiting for me there. What if Jesus walked in the room right now? May we all be able to say, I would keep doing exactly what I am doing.