St. Teresa of Avila instructed her sisters to recognize God's presence in the most mundane tasks.
It’s typically easy to recognize God’s presence when visiting a beautiful church or even a small chapel. However, when engaged in the everyday activities of life, God’s presence doesn’t seem close by.
The mundane duties that we are obliged to do on a daily basis can cause us more stress than anything else.
St. Teresa of Avila thought otherwise and saw these various obligations as gifts, opportunities to find God’s presence in a new way. She instructed her sisters to take full advantage of these opportunities and to bring God into them so that everything about their lives would be sanctified. Here is what she had to say in The Book of the Foundations.
Oh then, my daughters, let there be no neglect: but when obedience calls you to exterior employments (as, for example, into kitchen, amidst the pots and dishes), remember that our Lord goes along with you, to help you both in your interior and exterior duties.
In fact, St. Teresa believed that it is these mundane tasks that help us more along the path of sanctity than receiving a heavenly vision from God. It requires much effort to do those things that we are obliged to do with a joyful countenance, but we are greatly rewarded for our faithful obedience.
It is manifest, that the highest perfection does not consist in interior delights, nor in sublime raptures, nor in visions, nor in having the gift of prophecy, but in making our will so conformable with the will of God, that whatever we know He shall desire, that also we shall desire with our whole affection; and we shall receive what is bitter as joyfully as what is sweet and pleasant, remembering that such is the will of His Divine Majesty.
The next time you see that stack of dishes next to the sink, think about God and remember that he is with you. If you are able to overcome your inclinations and dive right into the task at hand, you will scale the heights of perfection much faster than a religious monk who prays all day, but hates being assigned to the kitchen.