Thursday, 8 October 2009
A little way of smallness.
This is a picture of St Theresa of Lisieux. She was born on the 2 January 1873 in Alencon. She entered the Carmelite house in Lisieux in April 1888. She used nature to explain and teach about the Kingdom of God. She is often referred to as the 'Little flower'.The great motif of her teaching is helpful to us at his place in the ongoing discussion. ( I rather think that we are in an interesting cul de sac at the moment. Important matters that have to be dealt with before we can proceed). The motif is called her 'little way'. She pictures herself as a little bird. This bird is happy to look at the Sun above with joy. But for her the idea of flying high with the Eagles is not within her capacity, no matter how much she may wish it. She is content to be as she is. But she says she can soar with the Eagles should the Eagle comedown to where she is. It is not for her to do great things of faith but the strew wherever she goes with flowers. These flowers are the small acts of kindness, faith, charity, and love. In so doing the greatest Eagle, Jesus, comes down to where she is and they fly together. I find this idea helpful in thinking about pilgrimage, or more correctly engaging on a pilgrimage. There are the Eagles who soar to great feats of distance in impossibly short times. There are those who are able to make a great time of prayer and worship of their pilgrimages. That is for them, they are Eagles, I am not. However the strewing of flowers is possible. Sharing a few moments with those who have problems, Sharing potions and lotions and all the 'small ' things are to hand. So the Christ is incarnate again in the face and hands of another. These small act do not come without effort, it may be a small effort, but it is a great feat of strength for a little bird. It is a journey to the end of myself to find God. It may not be to the heights. But does that matters for Christ has come down to the small places. Therese died at 28 years of age of Consumption. 25 years later she was made a Saint. This was after her small way had been tried firstly by fellow nuns and later by a wider group who found her teaching inspired them. It is a paradox that in following the little way and passing it on to others that she became one of the most loved and revered Saints of the last century. Or to put it another way. Her way of smallness led to greatness. The little bird became a great Eagle. And what you see as your own little way is of the greatest importance and is not for others to discount or laugh at, wherever you and they are coming from. Flowers on the way to Santiago near Pontevedra.