Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Wash the plate not because it is dirty nor because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.” I have found that committing to prayer the simplest habits seems to transform the larger habits organically. And this quote encapsulates a starting point for a ministry map. I take the smallest tasks, dedicate these and weave them into God’s will, and they will transform more than just me.
In my work as a florist, in a friend’s work as a baker, in another friend’s work as a teacher, in our respective roles as mothers and wives, and in our gift of life as daughters of God, the ministry of living the Gospel and bringing Christ’s words to life in our hearts and in our world is ministry.
I believe all our roles and ministries can be a vehicle of Christ’s ministry on Earth. Since the idea of New Year’s Resolutions more often tends toward self-improvement, I’m taking an inverted approach. This year, I am weaving a ministry map into how I go about the simple habits of daily life.
Here’s how I start:
- Who do I serve? What is my ministry? (This could also be deeply woven into your vocation.) Mother Teresa of Calcutta saw Christ in the poor. In whom do you see Christ?
- Who benefits from the work I do? How can I pray for the persons I serve? What might their needs be in relation to my ministry? This year, how might I listen to them? How might I better respond to their needs?
- What are my ministry tasks? Little and small, I want to be sure to include the ones that are tedious – they are the small things that Christ entrusts me to do in order to be entrusted with the great things.
- What scriptures refer to the work I do? (Find 3.)
- Which Saints are patrons of the unique challenges I face? (Pick at least 1. Search by topic here.)
- What prayers have the most meaning when I say them? (Start with the Rosary, and pick 1 or 2 more that are your go-to prayers when times are tough.)
- Discern a ministry map from these.
Ok, here’s the fun part! I grab my favorite notebook/paper/canvas and writing/drawing tools. The name of the entire map is my ministry. Then, I create the borders of my ministry by writing the scriptures about my ministry as the outline. Population is the types of persons with whom and to whom I minister. The cities can be named after the saints or the things of which they’re patrons. I’m sure to create some sources of water and name the rivers, ponds, lakes, or even oceans after the prayers I plan to use as the essential hydration and source of life of my ministry (since that is the essence of prayer). Perhaps I’ll write out the entire prayer on the ocean of Our Father or the river Serenity Prayer. The mountains I’m making the tasks I discerned … big and small, but especially small. The mountains are the ways in which I may grow in holiness if I see them in this map – interwoven with related scriptures, holy men and women who can intercede for me at the Throne of Grace, and prayers that always inspire me.
I hope this might be a helpful template to weave the ministry of bringing Christ into the world in the simplest habits of your life as well.