Family Life: Concrete Gestures of Holiness

November 5, 2015

Dear friend,

Pope Francis visited the United States a few weeks ago for the World Meeting of Families.  Like the good Catholic dork that I am, and since I was not able to see him in person, I watched or read every one of his speeches.   During the closing mass for the World Meeting of Families, he gave a very moving homily.

A line from Pope Francis’ homily that night remains with me:

 “Holiness is always tied to little gestures.” 

He went on to share about how we learn the little gestures of holiness within a family:  the warm supper that is prepared, the laundry that is completed, the house that is cleaned, the hug given, the forgiveness offered, the hand held.  He said, “Love is shown by little things, by attention to the small daily signs which make us feel at home.”

As a parent, this puts my vocation into perspective.  Am I not to model holiness through the little gestures I show my children daily?  Am I not to witness holiness modeled to me through the little gestures shown to me by my husband and children?

Since hearing Pope Francis’ homily, the Examen’s role shifted for me a bit.  The last few weeks, the Examen is a prayer that is helping me name the little gestures of holiness that I am shown every day not just by my family, but by all I come into contact with.  The Examen is also helping me see where I am being invited to show those same little gestures of holiness to others.

As we continue to live intentional prayer lives and cultivate space for God in our lives, I invite us to look, with the Holy Spirit’s help, for the little gestures of holiness, the little gestures of God’s love in our lives.



Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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1 Comment

  1. Sally

    Thank you for sharing this Becky. Reading the Pope’s homily is a reminder to be patient in love and to take time to see & appreciate all the small gestures you encounter during the day showing God’s love for you. I try to take time & be kind to everyone I meet but I need to allow them time to do the same because I find it easier to give than to receive.


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