My husband and I recently celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. There have been blessings and trials, joy and sorrow, times that were blissful and those that were very difficult over the past two decades. I am so thankful for his patience, kindness, and faithfulness through all of the ups and downs of life. He has surely been a strong rock for our family in both good times and bad.
Over the years, some of the duties that used to be fun and bring me joy have become more tedious and burdensome, one of these being cooking. As I began peeling some potatoes to add to a beef stew I was making recently, I was acutely aware of how monotonous this task was and my spirit recoiled from the job. The Holy Spirit then reminded me of a beautiful story from the Diary of Saint Faustina which brought me much comfort and encouragement. In the story, Sr. Faustina was tasked with draining potatoes in the kitchen in preparation for the sisters’ supper; however, she found that her body was too weak for the job and she often spilled the water and some of the potatoes. Sr. Faustina brought the matter to prayer, to which Jesus responded, “From today on you will do this easily; I shall strengthen you.” (Diary, 65)
Trusting in Jesus’ words, she eagerly approached the job of draining potatoes that evening. Not only did she perform the duty without mishap, but, miraculously, when she looked into the pot, she discovered that the potatoes had been transformed into “whole bunches of red roses, beautiful beyond description.” (Diary 65) Jesus explained the miracle to her with these words, “I change such hard work of yours into bouquets of beautiful flowers, and their perfume rises up to my throne.” (Diary 65)
Like Saint Faustina’s roses, Jesus can turn our hard work and labors into beautiful flowers if we perform them with love and devotion for Him. He sees our diligence even when no one else does. Every miniscule task and duty we perform with a willing spirit for our families is lovingly received by Him, who will reward us in His own way like He did with St. Faustina by the miracle of the roses. Our duties do not have to be meaningless chores we perform grudgingly. By offering them up with patience and love like St. Faustina did, our actions are transformed into something beautiful for God and others.
Recalling this story uplifts and encourages me not only because of the miraculous nature of this event in the life of St. Faustina, but also because it serves as a reminder to me that Jesus cares about every aspect of our lives and is concerned about all of our problems and difficulties. No care or worry is too insignificant to bring to Him in prayer. We can expect that He listens to each of our needs and will respond to our petitions when we trust Him to act.
St. Augustine encourages us to continue faithfully in our work for Christ and reminds us that our ultimate reward will be in Heaven:
When we feel discouraged and our efforts seem to go unnoticed or unrewarded, let us remember that Our Lord sees all of our actions, and our hard work is pleasing to Him. In this season of Advent, a time of waiting for Christmas, we can increase our prayers and good works in preparation and anticipation of the coming of Jesus, our King, who sees and rewards us for all that we do in His name.