It is many years since I read Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things. I have forgotten the plot but I have remembered the title. It is probably worth thinking about at any time but the suspension of much of the normal rushing around by the restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus has given many of us the opportunity to pay more attention to the “small things”.
Certainly my new kitten Mungo would approve of attention being given to small things. Despite his small size he has quickly ensured that he is the centre of attention and that daily domestic life revolves around him.
As I make my own pilgrimage through the pandemic with a daily life so different from what I expected, I am grateful to a friend who drew my attention to a Roman Catholic practice that speaks of the “sacrament of the present moment.” It was the idea of an eighteenth-century French Jesuit named Jean-Pierre de Caussade.
De Caussade’s conviction was that discipleship is lived out not only in great and heroic deeds, but in the small things of life. If we live our lives in mindfulness of God’s grace in the ordinary events of the day we will eventually be moulded into women and men who reflect in our lives the beauty and presence of the gospel.
De Caussade suggests that our lives can become texts: “The Holy Spirit writes no more Gospels except in our hearts. All we do from moment to moment is live this new gospel of the Holy Spirit. We, if we are holy, are the paper; our sufferings and our actions are the ink. The workings of the Holy Spirit are his pen, and with it he writes a living gospel.”