Ave Maria Meditations
On the Valule of Small Annoyances:
But as the opportunities for practicing (heroic virtue) in a big way come rather seldom, we must take advantage of the small ones which occur daily, and which will soon put us in a position to face the greater trials with equanimity when the time comes. There is no one who does not experience a hundred small annoyances every day, caused either by our own carelessness or inattention, or by the inconsideration or spite of other people, or by pure accident.
Our whole lives are made up on incidents of this kind, occurring ceaselessly from one minute to another, and producing a host of involuntary feelings of dislike and aversion, envy, fear, and impatience to trouble the serenity of our minds. We let an incautious word slip out and wish we had not said it; someone says something we find offensive; we have to wait a long time to be served when we are in a hurry; we are irritated by a child’s boisterousness; a boring acquaintance buttonholes us in the street; we get splashed with mud; the weather spoils our outing; our work is not going as well as we would wish; a tool breaks at a critical moment; we get our clothes torn or stained–these are not occasions for practicing heroic virtue but they can be a means of acquiring it if we wish.
If we were careful to offer all these petty annoyances to God and accept them as being ordered by his providence, we would soon be in a position to support the greatest misfortunes that can happen to us, besides at the same time insensibly drawing close to intimate union with God.
By Saint Claude de la Colombiere
(It is) in tempations and tribulations a man is proved as to what progress he has made; and in them there is a greater merit, and his virtue appears more conspicuous. Nor is it much if a man be devout and fervent when he feels no trouble; but it is in the time of adversity he bears up with patience there will be hope of a great advancement. Some are preserved from great temptations and are often overcome in little daily ones; that, being humbled, they may never presume on themselves in great things, who are weak in such small occurrences.
Thomas a Kempis