“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (Lk 10:21)
Therese of Lisieux, who came to prominence at a time when the world was experiencing two world wars and violence of a kind never seen before, was one of the most popular saints of the 20th century. Therese’s “little way” made sense to the people of the United States who were overwhelmed by the loss of husbands, children, brothers and friends in wars fought far from home. Living each day with simplicity, handing one’s life over to God, and offering “every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love,” helped people who were being bombarded with painful news on a daily basis.
In recent days, our President has announced his and our country's intention to push back ISIS both in Iraq and Syria, and last week he asked for support in this fight at the United Nations. Although many are sympathetic to President Obama's initiative, we cannot help but wonder where the violence will end, and whether there isn't another way of responding to aggression around the world. Unless we search for new responses to those with whom we disagree, we will surely become numb and unable to to respond with a Gospel heart to those with whom we differ.
Perhaps Therese’s little way can still help us. If we commit ourselves anew to a simple path of prayer, conversation and patience, without denying the horrors of war, famine, disease and hunger, we might discover a God who is only too anxious to help us.
Today, live simply so that others can simply live.
How do you respond to violence against you in your own life?