Madonna House

The Adventure of Washing Dishes

by Catherine Doherty

What can a person do who tries to love God tremendously?

Everything, from turning the lights off to save electricity to refraining from getting new clothes all the time, to not being picky about food, to going where God calls you.

Once I know God’s will, I am going to try to do it perfectly. My heart swells and I say, “This also, Lord, for love of you.” I know very well its redemptive value.

Here’s another way of putting it: I have empty hands. I consider that I have to bring something to the altar to offer at my next Mass.

What can I bring? I can bring clothing washed with great love, understanding full well that because of my attention, these clothes have redemptive value. I can bring hours of conversation or letters written with attention to details.

It never occurs to me that I can possibly separate anything from love. For example, I will speak of washing dishes. If I have the attitude that this is a beautiful little thing that I can give God, then washing a cup becomes an adventure. Do you get the picture?

Every little thing should be done perfectly, completely connected with God. Otherwise, it ceases to be interesting. It has no sense and no being.

No matter what their job, everyone has to do little things. But for us at Madonna House, doing them with our whole hearts is of the essence of our vocation.

—Adapted from Grace in Every Season, (2001), January 10, pp.26-27, available from MH Publications