The little detail

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Life is a special gift. However, what makes it so special are precisely those kind gestures and words that changes its taste altogether.

This can be visible in the way we speak to one another. Think, for instance, of how the words please, thank you and, why not, forgive me, are important in the way we talk to each other. They can orient our life towards the immense sea of gratitude! The same can be said of art. Artistic masterpieces are usually valued because of the details the artists who painted, sculpted or engraved them managed to put while producing them. Certainly the artist’s skill shows the depth of his and her inspiration.

The same can be said of the great literary compositions. In an article entitled The importance of small details in fiction writing Mark Spenser says: “The writer may have a vision of the big picture, but nothing works, particularly a plot, if the small, vivid, authenticating details are not there. Small, concrete details are usually the difference between a story that works and a story that fails, between a good piece of fiction writing and a great piece of fiction writing… Don’t be afraid of details with some emotional charge. Writers will sometimes, out of their fear of being sentimental, destroy an early draft of a story by stripping it of the details that gave it vitality. If you are moved by a detail as you write a story, there’s a chance the reader may also be moved… It’s generally the small details that will provide your fiction with not just immediacy but also with originality”.

From the above reflection I am led to conclude that paying attention to detail is not just a skill and mindset that is important and necessary for any successful person to thrive. Since it’s always the little things that matter to be really original, thus artistic, simply means paying attention to details. What amazes me is the fact that the little detail is not only valued by the human being. More and more the little detail is treasured by God himself, our sole Creator and Redeemer as human beings.

The Holy Spirit taught me this beautifully essential lesson when reading the apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis on the call to holiness in today’s world, Gaudete et Exultate. In number 144 the Holy Father says: “Let us not forget that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details. The little detail that wine was running out ata party. The little detail that one sheep was missing. The little detail of noticing the widow who offered her two small coins. The little detail of having spare oil for the lamps, should the bridegroom delay. The little detail of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had. The little detail of having a fire burning and a fish cooking as he waited for the disciples at daybreak”.

Speaking about community life Pope Francis said in number 145 of the same exhortation: “A
community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan”.

The saints keep reminding us that the little details of love are powerful signs not only that you and me care for each other but, deeply hidden in those acts of love, the risen Lord is truly present in us and is, in fact, sanctifying us. That is why Saint Teresa of Culcutta says: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Saint Therese of Lisieux drives home the point that what makes these acts special is the power of love with which they are imbued. She says: “Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.” And here lies the reason why, you and me, are called to perform many acts of love: the love ingrained in these acts, does good, first and foremost, to our own soul! Thus, Saint Teresa of Avila says: “Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”

Holy Spirit deepen within me your charity to be able to love others through many small acts done with your love. Amen.

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