One should never despise small beginnings. Things take time, and the more precious something is, the more time it will requre to mature. This is true of all aspects of life, but particularly in the spiritual life. Growth in Christ takes time and effort and only comes through struggle. It is tempting to look critically at the small beginnings that we are constantly making, thinking, "Why bother trying again?" G. K. Chesterton said, "If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." This sentiment is foreign to the American mind, but it rings true in experience. One cannot do well something complicated unless one begins at some point to do it, however shaky the beginning may be. There is beauty in smallness. Consider "The Word became flesh." A tiny beginning, a most unlikely beginning for the redeption of the world. In silence the Redeemer of the world came and only His dear Mother knew of His presence. One quiet Fiat and the Beginning entered time. Without this one 'yes,' the world would remain languishing in darkness, God would continue longing to pour forth His salvific Love. "Fiat." Let it begin! With a beginning, we cannot hope to do great things. So let us begin! Again!
In Genesis chapter 3, we hear of Cain and Abel offering to God from the fruits of their labor. Although both of them gave back to God, the Lord was pleased with Abel's offerings because he gave of the best he had. The same is true of us when we sacrifice to give the very best to God it will make Him happy because He sees the effort we put in. As religious we are always striving to be our very best for God, this is why our first formal action of the day is to come together and praise God. Doing this sets the tone for the rest of our day and focuses our attention on the most important thing: God.
“Lord God be my refuge” – Part of the antiphon from Wednesday Compline
This is but one place in which the Lord is called our refuge. As it happens so frequently with Scripture and the Divine Office, something will really jump out at me even though I have seen it many times before. This time, it was the word “refuge”. I always considered these lines of God as my refuge as being very comforting, but never really thought of what it means for God to be my refuge. A refuge is a shelter of protection from danger or distress and it is the physicality of this word that strikes me. A shelter is a place into which you go to hide and be protected. And, thinking of the fact that God is not just someone I talk to in distress (and He is that perfectly!) but is also present in such a way that I can hide IN Him. It may be difficult to conceive how this works, but the same faith that tells me Jesus is present in the Holy Eucharist also tells me that God is able to shelter me. And that is, indeed, very comforting.