During my growing up years I spent a few days on my own with my grandmother each summer. She was a force to be reckoned with and often exhausted me with her energy and activity. One of the many gifts she gave me was sharing her deep love of Jesus in and through her everyday living. I remember a summer in my teen years when I visited on a break from summer camp. One of the first things my grandmother would do when I arrived was feed me then wash, dry and iron all my clothing. I would protest the ironing of my camp clothes as a little over-the-top, but she would insist. During one of my protests, she shared with me why she enjoyed ironing. Life is full of lots of tasks that can wear you down and make you bitter. When these tasks become a way to show your love and devotion to your family, your service to the Lord, they become sacred acts, a blessing and gift to others. Ironing my clothing had become a mediative practice for my grandmother and an opportunity to pray, bless and demonstrate her deep love for me.

I have been remembering my grandmother’s words of late. As we explore the theme of Time, I have had a growing awareness of how many tasks and moments in the day that I try to simply “get through”. In my head I know that I need to slow down and be present, but my default is to get through my list of tasks with speed and efficiency so that I have time for other more “important” things. When I choose this way of being, everyone in my path becomes either a help or a hindrance to what I need to accomplish and resentment and frustration breed in my heart. In these moments I participate in a story – not of God’s abundant life and love, but of my own self and scarcity.

One of the gifts of the examen for me has been to reflect upon interactions with others during the day. How might I see those around me as gift and blessing alongside the work that needs to be done? What simple shifts can I make in my daily routines to offer these activities as sacred acts of blessing to others? My grandmother shared her wisdom with me because she remembered a time when she was resentful at the work before her. She began to make simple and profound shifts to the way she went about her daily work and in this work she blessed others profoundly throughout her life.

May the Father, who makes everything beautiful in its time, release us from the burden of worry over tomorrow.
May the Son, who laboured and lived among us, give us eyes to see the goodness, joy and blessing in this day’s work.
May the Spirit, who fills all things, fill us with hope as we participate in the Gospel story of abundant life, grace and love.

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