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Living life the little way

by Juliana Valdez

One of the requirements for candidates preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation is to choose a saint whose name they will take at the conferring of the Sacrament. With the technology available now, it is easier for the candidates to Google the names to find out about the lives of those whom they have chosen.

One of the projects we embark on in my parish is for the candidates to put together a portfolio outlining different aspects of the Confirmation journey and  write an essay on the saint they have chosen stating why they chose him/her. In this way, the saints would not just be vague names they hear during Mass or after whom some of our churches are named.

Candidates will also be enlightened and educated on these saints, realising that they were people just like us who had their ups and downs, and who faced situations where they struggled to develop and maintain a close and personal relationship with God while trying to discern His will in their lives. They were people who gave their lives to the service of God and the Church, many times experiencing hardships, disappointments and even death.

Viewing EWTN recently, I listened to Fr James Martin SJ, as he shared with viewers about the life of St Thérèse of Lisieux, also referred to as ‘the Little Flower’. I was particularly interested since at my Confirmation many years ago, she was the saint I chose to be my patron saint. As I grew older, I purchased literature about her and the more I read, the more intrigued I became by her life   story.

I was particularly interested as he shared one of her literary works, a book entitled The Little Way. My plan is to acquire it whenever I get the opportunity to do so.

As Fr James shared, he read excerpts from the book and he explained that St Thérèse’s explanation for the “little way” referred to her belief that we should all do “small” acts of kindness with “great” love.

In the garden of life, we can’t all be big roses or lilies. There is also room for the smaller flowers which play a significant part in the garden, quietly adding beauty and colour.

For some of us, we live in this garden of life selfishly, looking out only for me and mine. We guard our space, reluctant to allow anyone or anything to disrupt our routine in any way. The thing is, these are sometimes the big roses and lilies which are easily seen, but their ‘beauty’ (service) is something only on the surface.

But in the “little way,” there are daisies and zinnias which though small, add to the beauty and function of the garden. They represent the small acts of kindness which are done with great love, encompassing all, without discrimination or preference, bringing joy, relief and peace to many in this garden of life.

Every day, there are opportunities for us to live the “little way”. In our families, schools, churches and communities there is always someone who is in need of physical, emotional or spiritual support. We think of the Church’s teaching about the Corporal and Spiritual acts of mercy. When pondered on, we are made aware of just how much of a niche we can fill in our own small way to alleviate hardships or bring relief into the lives of others living in this garden.

The “little way,” is fuelled by compassion and love.