Catherine saw cleaning as a way of introducing the “tranquility of God’s order” into our days and living spaces. One guest even claimed that he could see that the members of this community truly loved one another because of how clean our premises are kept. As Catherine explains:
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“Christ said, ‘I have come to serve, not to be served.’ The moment you become the servant of others, you unite yourself to our Lord. He washed the dirty, callused feet of fishermen and ordinary peasant folk and farmers — his apostles.
Have you ever thought of the song of the cleaning materials? How symbolic all this is! So here I am dusting. I am dusting a chair well. You just hear a swish. But if I am putting my soul, my heart, my love for God into this action, not missing any corner or any place, I am disciplining myself. I am beginning to die to self. I am really singing a song of love with each movement. There are two songs today: there is hate and denial of God (or at least indifference to God), and there is our little song that starts in the morning, making the corners of the bed because you love. No other reason in the world could make you do them so well. You want to mortify that body of yours, discipline that mind of yours, make your will strong. Because you were faithful in little things, you can be faithful in big things.
You must begin at the bottom where Christ began, at the feet of his apostles: Hear the song of polishing, of elbow grease, of dusting, of cleaning, and of doing everything well for the love of God!
Place yourself in Nazareth with Our Lady during her time of waiting to give birth when she had no one but Joseph. Nobody paid any attention to her. You pay that attention. You sweep for those who never swept the cobwebs and the dirt from their souls — and still don’t. Sweep in the Nazareth of human minds and hearts. Prepare that inn eternally, every day, for the Child to be born, the Child who was denied the inn and still is denied the inn of our hearts.
You see, give concentration and thoughtfulness to things today, and tomorrow you will give thoughtfulness to people. There is so much beauty in the action itself, in concentration, and in its results.
Our Madonna House Apostolate is little things done over and over again exceedingly well for the love of God. This is going to make you saints. It is absolutely positive. Don’t seek immense mortifications or flagellations and what have you. Seek the daily mortification of doing a thing exceedingly well. Believe you me, you are certainly going to have mortification, I can promise you!”