She is not named after the Italian car. Thank goodness for that, really, considering the rebroadcast episode of Car Talk I caught this past weekend chronicled the harrowing adventures of Click and
Clack and their worthless old Fiat. (God rest your soul, Click Tappet!)
Fiat, of course, is Latin for let it be done. In Lisa Hendey's brand-new book, The Grace of Yes, Fiat is both the charming little goldfish on the cover as well as the simple yet profound theme guiding readers through the pages of the book. The Grace of Yes explores eight virtues that help us build a habit of generosity.
The goldfish name surfaced (ha! fish pun!) after CatholicMom.com hosted a "Name the Goldfish" contest. The goldfish is essentially just a decoration, I realize, but the community goldfish-naming phenomenon is no mere ornament; the CatholicMom.com clever fish-naming campaign epitomizes the way Lisa--the site's founder-- habitually reaches out to others. Since the year 2000, when Lisa launched CatholicMom.com out of her California home, Lisa's work has connected countless moms (and other people) seeking to integrate faith into daily life.
Towards the end of The Grace of Yes, Lisa explores the grace of rebirth, of bringing hope into difficult situations. She divulges a secret desire to appear on the reality show Survivor, to dig into the thirty-nine day competition as a spiritual quest to be one with God, nature, and a community of adventurous people.
I want to see the supermarket, the airport, the women's shelter, a friend's kitchen--or yes, even a reality television show--as my mission field. I want to give far more than I take and in the process continually grow, stretch, and challenge my limits. And in doing so, I want to continuously (but never obnoxiously) give glory to the One who makes all things possible.Lisa's words remind me of the ferverino of a favorite French Jesuit, Fr. Francis Xavier Gautrelet, the 19th century founder of the Apostleship of Prayer. Back in 1844, Fr. Gautrelet told a group of Jesuit seminarians who were eager to work on the missions, "Be apostles now, apostles of prayer! Offer everything you are doing each day in union with the Heart of our Lord for what He wishes, the spread of the Kingdom for the salvation of souls." We don't need to travel to exotic lands to be a missionary; simply doing our daily work, with love and intentionality, helps to bring about the Kingdom of God.
One of the more famous members of the Apostleship of Prayer, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, wrote this about missionary work: "to pick up a pin for love can convert a soul." THAT is how important our daily work is. THAT is how we can all be missionaries in very practical, often boring ways. We can offer our daily work for the good of others. We offer whatever we can, and God transforms our gift, our yes, into grace for the world.
On this Grace of Yes Day, we celebrate our everyday mission to be generous. As CatholicMom.com's Sarah Reinhard says about #GraceofYesDay, "it's not about the book. It's not about Lisa. It's about how we all say Yes to God in our lives, how the everyday heroes around us keep things ticking, how three small letters can transform the world."
When I speak to groups of students about living as missionaries in daily life, they love to imagine their school day as a mission trip. (And parents love that this kind of mission trip doesn't cost a penny!) Opening a locker, shutting a car door, climbing a flight of steps, asking someone how the day is going--all these seemingly insignificant actions are an opportunity to encounter the Lord. We can offer these moments--all our prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys, and sufferings--in union with the Heart of Jesus. Yes, Lord, I can serve you here. Right here. Yes.
Grace of Yes Link-Up!