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Disciplining the “Little Lazies”


“Little lazies” is what I call them. You know them: those small chores or actions you don’t do, because you don’t deem them urgent or important; or, better still, you think someone else will do them. Remember that saltshaker you did not refill, or that paper-towel dispenser that was on its last towel? I think we all give in to them at times. “Little lazies” are just slight lapses in self-discipline that eventually catch up with us, either because necessity forces us to carry out these tasks or because we are confronted by someone else who did.

 

I see someone in a store, and I think to myself how sad that person looks. Even if I don’t know him or her, would it hurt me to smile and just say, “Good morning?” A passerby has a pouting little child in her shopping cart. Would I take a few seconds to compliment the mother and say a few kind words to the child instead of just going about my errands? Openness is a way of overcoming the “little lazies” insofar as we don’t withdraw from our surroundings and selfishly turn inward. Small acts of kindness are little disciplines we can either ignore or lovingly carry out. We don’t have big demands made on us in these simple situations, but we can start somewhere, and practice can help prepare us for the bigger discipline demands.

 

Today the Church observes an optional memorial for St. Peter Damian, who was a bishop in the 11th century and has been named a Doctor of the Church. St. Peter Damian was definitely familiar with discipline. I would guess that he did not give in to those “little lazies” and certainly not big ones! His Wikipedia biography entry tells of his extreme self-mortification all the while being a forceful reformer, a writer, a leader, a cardinal, and a legate for the pope. The readings for his memorial Mass call us to be active, persistent, and fruitful (2 Timothy 4:1-5, John 15:1-8). We cannot be lazy, because, as the Responsorial Psalm proclaims, “You are my inheritance, O Lord” (Psalm 16:5a). We have good reason and motivation to be energized! See what is waiting for us!

 

In St. John’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to be his disciples. Did you ever notice that “disciple” and “discipline” have the same first seven letters? Disciples have to be disciplined, and we can be, because we are the branches abiding on the nourishing vine that is Jesus. If we start to get a little lazy or a little weak, we can confidently pray to our personal Source for strength and perseverance. This is good news that can bolster us again and again!

 

We are close to the end of the week, and sometimes by then we are running out of steam. In my prayer time today, I might ask for a little boost of self-discipline so that I can try to glorify the Father by bearing fruit for his kingdom—even some small fruit!

 

We all might consider making a loving phone call, sharing a comforting Gospel story, spreading an uplifting attitude, praying for a soldier who is deployed, or good-naturedly completing someone else’s “little lazy” chore. We have a strong example of a disciplined person in St. Peter Damian. Best of all, we have the loving example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Holiness, here we come!

 

Think about it:

  1. What are some of your “little lazies?”
  2. In what small way can you add to your response to the call to be a disciple of Jesus?

 
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, CT. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.

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