Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - The 'Little Way'

ronniemcbrayer300 grayKENTUCKY (11/25/12) - One of my favorite Brennan Manning quotes is about heaven, but only indirectly. It’s more about how to best live our lives today. Manning says, “Heaven will be filled with preschoolers. No adults will be allowed admittance.” Brennan’s quote duplicates the words of Jesus: “The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children,” Christ said.

Jesus wasn’t idealizing childhood or emphasizing a child’s innocence with those words. No, he was pointing to the status of a child. If you want to get somewhere spiritually, Jesus says, you don’t get there by clawing your way to top. You have to descend to the lowest possible place in the social strata. You humble yourself, because you have to get small to fit through the door that leads to the kingdom of God.

So every time we feel ourselves being led away from childlike simplicity and dependence upon God, we must return to the nursery, remembering that there can be no status-striving in the ways of God. We resist and remove those things that lure us into a state where we are not wholly and completely dependent upon God.

No, the world doesn’t operate this way, but this is exactly why the witness of the church is required. In a society marked by smear campaigns, scraping and fighting to get to the top of the heap, grotesque levels of inequality and greed, broken promises and broken deals, cheating and killing just to get to be number one, when we become as humble children, we show society a better way to live.

Thankfully, from time to time, God gifts the church with those rare individuals who remind us of Jesus’ words. One of those people was a French teenager who lived a century ago named Therese Martin, better known today as St. Therese of Lisieux. Therese entered a Carmelite convent when she was only 15, with one ambition: To become a saint.

The Carmelites certainly lent themselves to her pursuit. The Carmelites demanded strict obedience, continuous prayers, long periods of fasting and silence, vows of isolation and poverty, and overall a severe approach to spirituality. This was the perfect place for one looking to achieve the peak of the religious honor system. And this was the exact place that Therese utterly failed.

Six years into her cloistered life in the convent, and suffering from poor health and debilitating bouts of depression, she realized that all her striving and religious go-getting was useless. She was exhausted by it all, and simply could not do it. Giving up on sainthood altogether, and despairing of life, it was about this time that she read a single line from the book of Proverbs that changed everything: “Whoso is little, let him come to me.”

She named this discovery “The Little Way,” realizing that the only way up, was down. For the rest of her very short life (she died at the age of 24), she quit trying so hard at trying so hard, and learned to become a child once again.

She wrote, “Children are always giving trouble, falling down, getting themselves dirty, breaking things; but all this does not shake their parents’ love for them…I rejoice to be little because only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.”

Often critiqued as overly simplistic and naïve, Therese and her “Little Way” are rejected by those who feel the need for greater complexity or intellectualism in their faith. Maybe these critics reject her conclusions because they simply feel the need for more: More responsibility, more steps up the religious ladder to the top, more ways to gain respect, status, or a higher standing, and the need for a more honorable reputation.

Yet, Therese was right on target, and not because her way ironically led to her sainthood. She was right because her way reflected the way of Jesus. And reflecting Jesus is more than enough, because his way, “The Little Way,” always leads us to abandon ourselves like a child, into the arms of God.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

Murray-Calloway County Hospital Supports Regional Stroke Camp, Seeks Participants and Volunteers

MURRAY, Ky. (7/13/14) — The Murray Calloway Endowment for Healthcare at Murray-Calloway County Hospital will be hosting… Read More

Owensboro Board of Commissioners Commission Meeting July 15, 2014

OWENSBORO, Ky. (7/13/14) — The Owensboro Board of Commissioners will hold a Commission meeting at 5 p.m. (CST),… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 11, 2014 5822

Madisonville Kmart to Close in October

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
July 09, 2014 4007

Madisonville Woman Arrested for Alleged…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 11, 2014 3956

Hopkins County Health Department Food…

in News by Lisa Miller
July 09, 2014 3292

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - July 9,…

in Top Stories by Crime Stoppers
July 11, 2014 2692

Local Man Dies After Bike Collides With…

in Top Stories by Robert D. Littlepage

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 11, 2014 5822

Madisonville Kmart to Close in October

in Top Stories by Ami Clayton, SurfKY News
July 09, 2014 4007

Madisonville Woman Arrested for Alleged…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 09, 2014 3292

Crime Stoppers Top Most Wanted - July 9,…

in Top Stories by Crime Stoppers
July 11, 2014 2692

Local Man Dies After Bike Collides With…

in Top Stories by Robert D. Littlepage
July 10, 2014 1809

UPDATED: MFD Battles Blaze on South…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 09, 2014 1262

Passport Health Plan Announces Contract…

in News by Jill J Bell
July 11, 2014 1000

Owensboro Police Department Reports…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
July 09, 2014 968

Owensboro Police Department Reports…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
July 10, 2014 936

Daviess County Traffic Advisory

in News by Keith Todd
July 09, 2014 919

Edge Ice Center Offering Summertime…

in News by Brittni Bunn

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 11, 2014 1613

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 09, 2014 1579

Business Spotlight - My Sister's Stuff

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 12, 2014 986

July Chamber Meeting

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03