This post is an excerpt from Everyday Heroism by Christine Hanus, available here.


If humility is the first step on the journey of the “little way of motherhood,” love is its second distinguishing characteristic. It is the fuel that keeps us burning. Everything else we will ever need flows from this intimate, fruitful relationship with Divine Love. As we journey with our Lord through life, he will “perfect us in love.”

When we become mothers, it is critical that we come to a better understanding of what it means to love and serve God, not only to fulfill God’s plan for our own lives, but to fulfill our responsibility to our children—to teach them who God is and how to make sense of their lives.

There are many ways that our love of God can be immature. One way is illustrated by a conversation I overheard between my two oldest sons when they were six and seven years old. They were outside playing in our grass-less yard in New Mexico. Sean, straddling the large outdoor garbage can that doubled as their yard toy, said off-handedly, “I don’t love God.”

Patrick, digging in the dirt, paused to admonish him, “You have to love God. If you don’t, you will go to hell, which is a very bad place.”

Sean immediately replied, “I love God.”

We can say that we love God, but what we really mean is that we have a fear of punishment.

A second, and all too common way for us to say we “love” God, is analogous to Gabriel’s shenanigans when he was four years old and was supposed to be in bed. One night he had come downstairs twice already, once for a drink and once for something he needed desperately (a matchbox car, perhaps? a toy head of C3P0?). Finally, on the third trip downstairs, perceiving that I was not happy with his behavior, he threw his chubby arms around me, squeezed me, and said, “Love is more importanter than going to bed, huh Mom?”

Gabriel mistakenly thought his hug, which he knows to be of great value to me, would make up for the fact that he was not being obedient. This is often how we treat God. We say we love him, but we do not obey him. This is not genuine love. In the Bible, Jesus tells us that if we love him, we will keep his commandments (see John 14:15).

Motherhood calls us to a mature understanding of love, which is deeply satisfying. It isn’t a relationship based on fear, nor is it a sentimental presumption that we can never earn God’s disapproval, because, after all, he is loving and forgiving.

The reality is: God has initiated a love relationship with us. He gives us the opportunity to have an intimate union with him. He gives us his “spiritual DNA” when we are reborn by baptism. Not only do we have the Holy Spirit living in us, but we have the sacraments, given to us by Jesus himself to pour out more of his life upon us—including his very own body and blood in the Eucharist! All that is left for us to do is respond.

The Catholic Church has a beautiful summary of the effects of this response by regular people like you and me (who are called the “laity”) in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit, are marvelously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the Spirit may be produced in them. For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit—indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born—all of these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord. And so, worshiping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their lives (CCC 901, emphasis added).

Responding to God’s overture of love and to the grace he gives us to live holy lives has the power to make us “everyday heroes.” In the following days, we will reflect on a prayer called the “Morning Offering,” which will help us make this daily response in a concrete way. In the “Morning Offering” we find a summary of what we have as human beings to give to God—namely, our prayers, works, joys, sorrows, and sufferings.

We will consider each of these categories separately, even though they are often commingled, and we will think about how God can use our seemingly trivial daily offerings to transform us and to change the world!



For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

                                                                                                            John 3:16



He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and since he has “loved us first,” love can also blossom as a response in us.

                                                                                                          Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI



Morning Offering

O Jesus, in union with your most precious blood

Poured out on the cross and offered in every Mass.

I offer you today my prayers, works, joys, sorrows and sufferings.

For the praise of your holy name

And all the desires of your sacred heart.

For reparation of sins,

The conversion of sinners,

The union of all Christians,

And our final union with you in heaven.



This post is an excerpt from Everyday Heroism by Christine Hanus, available here. 

Image: Unsplash.

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