Adore God in the Little Things
“The greatest danger with God is for us to become accustomed to him, to fall from awe into routine” (Rev. Raniero Cantalamesa).
C. S. Lewis once went on a stroll with a friend. They were contemplating how one can learn to worship. Lewis suggested they think about the universe, creation, and God’s grand gifts. His friend looked down at the brook, splashed his face in a small waterfall and said, “Why not start here?” We err whenever we become too lofty. We must learn to adore God in all the little things.
“On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean” (Luke 17:11-14).
Ten lepers were healed. Only one came back and thanked God.
“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well’” (Luke 17:15-19).
Who was this leper?
Leprosy is a hideous disease. It attacks the nervous system, starts in the spinal cord and brain, and spreads out to the hands, feet, and face, eating away at your senses. Can you imagine? You lose the ability to feel with your hands, to taste with your mouth, or even to see with your eyes.
There is a spiritual leprosy too. We lose the ability to perceive and cherish the beauty of God. Some begin to look at the world as expressed by atheist Richard Dawkins: “electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication… no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” This has become the norm for modern man. We have lost a sense of the sublime. For the rest of us, life simply goes dry. We become grownups with heads buried in work, newspapers, politics, or the neverending shopping list.
This is not what God made us for.
Christ came to cure us of spiritual leprosy. He came to teach us to become ‘homo adorans’ — creatures of worship.
“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling" (Psalm 2:11).
“Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-20).
The ten lepers were cured of their physical leprosy. Only one was cured of leprosy body and soul. Notice what he does. “He saw that he was healed, he turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him” (Luke 17:15). First, he realized what had happened. Jesus Christ died on the cross for us. He is building a mansion in eternity. Why are we bogged down by our world. So there are tyrants. There is war. There is poverty and scandal. But what does this matter in the light of the resurrection? Can we comprehend the gravity of what it means: Christ is Risen!
If I am saved, and do not dedicate my life to worshipping God, I must ask myself: am I the one leper who returned to Christ, or am I one of the nine who forgot?
Christ did not come to save the world. He came to save us from the world. Let the world be the world. We have God.
The leper turned back to God and praised him. We do not understand how important it is to worship God. Worship is not a pious thing to do. Worship is not merely singing a few hymns on Sunday. Worship is the whole point of life.
St. Gabriella Papayannis joined a monastery late in life. Before that, she had been a traveling mystic and healer. She had worked miracles and cured the sick. Yet, it was a hard transition for her in the cloistered life. She found herself grumbling at first. One day, she was judging another nun, when an angel rebuked her: “How can you judge? You were enjoying luxuries and fancy meals in your youth, while, all that time until now, this nun has stood here in this chapel, day after day, year after year, faithfully praising God.” Who accomplished more? The miracle worker, or the simple woman who adored God day and night? Let the world chatter away about ethics and social programs. The simple old woman on her knees accomplishes far more.
Worship is the stuff of heaven.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary remarked: "Adoration. This is a word from heaven. It seems to me that it could be defined as an ecstasy of love. It is love overwhelmed by the beauty, the strength, the immense grandeur of the Beloved. It falls into sort of a swoon, into a full deep silence, the silence that David spoke of when he cried out 'silence is thy praise'. And it is the most beautiful of all praise that is sung eternally in the bosom of the unchanging Trinity, and it is also the last effort of the soul as it overflows and can say no more.”
Worship is what we must do in the little things.
When his friend splashed his face in the stream, Lewis learned a cardinal lesson: the difference between gratitude and adoration. “Gratitude exclaims, very properly: ‘How good of God to give me this.’ Adoration says: ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations are like this!’ One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun” (Lewis). Adoration is a state of soul that praises God all day, while washing dishes or driving to work, and this is the work in which we Christians must be engaged.
When we feel sunlight, we should teach ourselves to think, “This is lovely, how much more beautiful is our God.” When we look at a storm we should ponder, “This is powerful, how much more powerful is our God.” When we enjoy good food and wine, we should wonder, “This is delicious and invigorating, how much more delicious and invigorating is eternity with God.”
We must begin with all the little things. We will discover the whole universe to be one banquet table spread out for us to enjoy and give back adoration.
“Then Christ said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well’” (Luke 17:19).
It is simple. We become whole when we learn to adore. May God open our hearts to love for Him.