By Shelby Hawks
In these days of monotony, I have been reminded of a quote that I discovered a few years ago—a quote that speaks to the youthfulness of our God. I love this quote because, for me, it reveals the abounding, ever-present heart of God and the call to childlikeness that Jesus speaks of in the gospels.
G.K. Chesterton writes:
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
Perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.
Here we are, brothers and sisters. Here we are in days of incredible monotony. We are in the same place, every day, without fail. And there is no certain end to the monotony that we have been forced into. While this time can certainly cause us to worry and grow old from its weight, while this time can lead us into a dark corner of fearfulness, while this time can lead us into abandonment of faith, it can also, perhaps be a bridge.
Because God is strong enough to exult in monotony.
This time, like any other, is anointed and sanctified and chosen by God. This time, like any other, is an opportunity to lean into His Heart, to bridge the gap and close the distance between our frail humanity and his lofty divinity. It is a time to embrace the childlike heart He offers to us and to open our eyes to the glory and sanctity of the ordinary. It is a time to call upon the name of Jesus, who reveals Himself as the bridge, as the Way, as the one who closes the gap by becoming Man.
Jesus, the Son of the Father, the Word made flesh—He is the one speaking, “Do it again.” He is the one calling us deeper into the monotony: He never tires of our ask, of our monotonous confession, of our ordinary to-do list, of our distant desires, of our burgeoning passion. He is the One who sanctifies them. He says, “Do it again. Bring your heart to me again, every moment, every day, come to Me the Living Water and do not thirst.” Our God lived the ordinary in the silence of Nazareth. And He is strong enough to exult in it.
When we wake up each day, we have this choice: to dwell on the fact that this time is not what we would have chosen for ourselves, or to trust that while this is not our will, it is His and there is beauty for us in it and the grace to be made holy.
Learn to rejoice at the rising of the sun. Learn to see His face in the family members you are with. Learn to find peace in the surety of His Providence. Learn to see His Hand in the little moments of grace. Learn to cultivate constant mental prayer. Learn to make virtue the goal. Learn to hold Him close to you as night falls and the day comes to an end. Learn to bring Him into more than just your chapel, your prayer space, your Mass time. Because the real truth is this: He is all things, in all people, for all ages. He is indeed here.
Lean into His power to “exult in monotony” and find Him more near than you ever have before. For if He has the power to exult in monotony, as sharers in His likeness, so too do we.