"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

04 October 2007

The Little Way

Michael Novak writes about Mother Teresa in the 24 September National Review, in an article called "Way of Darkness." Therese of Lisieux, often called "Therese of the Little Way," was Mother Teresa's patron saint; Therese's autobiography is The Story of a Soul, out recently in a new translation which I am enjoying very much.

Novak summarizes Therese's "Little Way" in his article:

The kernal of Therese's teaching is often called "the little way," meaning that no Christian is too humble or too insignificant to follow it. No matter what spiritual darkness you find yourself in, choose as your North Star a tender love for the persons that life's contingencies have put next to you. Do not go looking for more fascinating neighbors to love. Love those who are nearest. You cannot see God, even if you try. But you can see your neighbor, the tedious one, the one who grinds on you: Love him, love her. As Jesus loves them. Give them the tender smile of Jesus, even though your own feelings be like the bottom of a bird cage. Do not ask to see Jesus, or to feel him: That is for children. Love him in the dark. Love for the invisible divine, not for the warm and comforting human consolation. Love for the sake of love, not in order to feel loved in return.

I just got Mother Teresa's Come Be My Light yesterday. She lived her patron saint's "little way," by all accounts; I am awed already by the first few pages. Her humility and her absolute, profound love for Jesus and desire for His glory shines forth in her letters and what others say about her. If we gave one-hundredth the love that such people do, what might the world look like?


GrumpyTeacher1 said...

That is a moving quote. If only I could manage even that with regularity.

alaiyo said...

No kidding!

predictablepoet said...

Me too, grumpyteacher. Our humility pales in comparison. That tiny woman is one of my heroes.