The Most Important Work in the World

The Most Important Work in the World March 16, 2019

I’ve always heard that when a person is in their last days and nearing death they never wish that they had made more money, spent more time at work, or accomplished more. As much time and energy as we pour into these endeavors, at the end of our lives they will not be uppermost in our thoughts. Instead, most people express that they regret not spending more time with family and friends, deepening their relationships and creating memories that will live on in their loved ones’ hearts. They also wish they had loved and served others more.

I try to keep this in mind on the stressful days when my three children are clamoring for my attention and I desperately want to be “productive” and just “get something done.” It’s hard to remember in the midst of packing school lunches and cooking dinner, but I know how important it is to stop what I am doing and refocus on the things (and people) that truly matter in the end.

Usually I am interrupted by the youngest, soliciting my attention by begging me to be her admiring spectator as she performs her back handsprings across the living room floor for the thousandth time. Sometimes it is the middle child needing help with a small task: picking out an outfit or trying to tie a delicate friendship bracelet onto her wrist. Often I struggle to remind myself that, like that colorful, woven bracelet, our family is made up of strands knitted together as one, and that my vocation as wife and mother obligates me first and foremost to be present to my husband and children, even when it is sometimes inconvenient.

Similarly, we, as Christians, are all one in the Body of Christ and are called to care for and support one another. The answer to Cain’s question in Genesis, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is yes, absolutely! I think we will never regret the time we spend listening to, helping, and just being there for one another. Jesus, in the parable of the Judgment of the Nations tells us that as He separates the sheep from the goats the king will say, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” -Matt. 25:40 In a poem attributed to St. Teresa of Avila, she also reminds us that:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

How can we constantly remind ourselves to respond to the needs of our loved ones around us; listening, helping, caring? I am certain that these tiny, insignificant moments and memories will add up, hopefully creating the beautiful, woven tapestry of a life well lived.

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