When we examine the spiritual doctrine of St. Therese it becomes clear that although she spoke about childhood and littleness, she does not encourage people to become infantile or ignorant. We could see part of the doctrine of spiritual childhood expressed in today’s Gospel about being messengers of peace. Living the little way of love means bringing the Gospel of peace with us wherever we go. We are not ignorant or unaware of the brokenness of our world and of the hearts of men. We are not surprised that people are violent, mean and hateful. Facing the wolves, however, we are not afraid of what they can do to us. “Fear not the one who can only destroy your body. Fear the one who can cast both body and soul into Gehenna.” We fear only God, but spiritual childhood teaches us to see God as our Father and to trust that He is teaching us how to take the difficult step through death to eternity. The fearlessness we are called to embrace before the peril of the Cross is not military-grade mental or physical toughness – it is the calm and gentle conviction that our Father is lovingly guiding us through death to new life. We can be abandoned to that love no matter how painful life may become. We can continue to be at peace even when others work to destroy peace.
Saturday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
The end of the story of Job sends a clear message about repentance, humility, and God’s mercy. We are continually tempted to see the bad things that happen to us or to others as some kind of punishment – deserved or undeserved. Job, a truly wise man, finally humbles his mind before the workings and designs of God. “I have dealt with great things that I do not understand[…]” As we sit and meditate upon life’s difficulties, we can become trapped in our own understanding of events. No matter how hard we try, because we are sinners and our minds are weak, our own perception of the “why’s” of evil becomes a burden for our soul. Job’s solution, inspired and helped by the grace of God, is to simply lift his eyes – the eyes of his heart – to look upon the mystery of God. This act of faith is vitally important if we are to let go of the burden of evil, which we carry around in the form of unspoken or unacknowledged judgments and bitterness about the evil we have known. Job looks to God, not for an answer, but for the strength to let go of his limited way of seeing which is not only inaccurate but burdensome.