So small

“No one can grow if he does not accept his smallness.” ― Pope Francis

After reading this quote in an article, I wrote this stream of consciousness reflection in my journal:

Every year I feel smaller and smaller. I realize more how much I don’t know. How much there is to know. How fragile I and others are.  I see how much I have not done, should have done, can never do. I wish I had, wish I had not… I see the vastness of the ancient universe. I, so tiny. Those whom I once saw as invincible, are rendered helpless by illness or misfortune. How limited is my control over life. I see all my flaws and limits more clearly as I age, and time wears away the desire for illusion, to see what I want to see. I look now: there I am.

When I was small I would always notice tiny things, relished hidden treasures. As I grew, I grew dull to them. But grace has reawakened in me a preference for the tiny and small and out of the way, the obscured beauties. I want to re-turn to childhood — “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3). At least on my better days. I love learning the small details of others’ hopes and dreams, pains and anxieties. I have grown again to cherish stopping along the road to catch view of a tiny flower. My wife and children have taught me that love is in the details.

I beg that God’s attentiveness to hair-counts, which seems to rank high on the spectrum of His delight, becomes my own. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid” (Luke 12:7). Yet I so easily get lost in a narrowed vision, become myopic. It’s usually an experience of pain, sickness, suffering — mine or others — that rips off my blinders yet again.

I pray often for what St. Teresa of Avila says is a sweet fruit of divine charity: to notice above all, amid the many flaws of others, the often hidden goods that are there. Not to dwell in their failings, which loom, and which oft may make me feel better about my own crap and distract me from my own mess. But at what a cost. Little Thérèse also saw this:

I know now that true charity consists in bearing all our neighbors’ defects–not being surprised at their weakness, but edified at their smallest virtues.

I see more clearly now than I ever have that God prefers nothing more than working great things within all these limiting factors. He came for the sick, he loves the outcast, he has preferential love for the 1 out of 99. The Most Low God, the Infinite lover of the itty. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). Orthodox paradoxy.

And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah  — Leonard Cohen

All our weaknesses and broken jars must be given to Him as an offering; turned from inward fretting upward into a prayer, a cry for mercy. “Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1), i.e. everything human about your life is game for sacrifical worship. My fragilities, if turned from empty gaps or murky holes into spacious capacities for God’s gifts, become wellsprings of divine grace in the midst of the world. Only what is offered up can be consecrated.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, beset by the tempest of human failures and incomplete lives, I jump out of the boat into the Ocean of mercy toward the God who calls me to walk upon the surging waves, eyes fixed on Jesus, and trust.

“In peace I will lie down and fall asleep,
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:9)

6 comments on “So small

  1. tmm says:

    Not sure if anyone else may feel this way, but find myself becoming smaller and smaller as Divine Love consumes more and more or me, little by little. It’s becomes real as you feel you can trust more because the move is always on God. When it’s check mate for you, one that is so small, God makes a mind blowing move that proves for us, humility “rocks”. What hastened the process was a wholehearted attempt offering myself to Merciful Love as a Divine Mercy consecration. A masterpiece in this Jubilee of Mercy that allows one the opportunity to consecrate oneself to Divine Mercy, is found in this book: “33 Days to Merciful Love”. Fr. Michael Gaitley was inspired and the consecration is based on the Little Way by St. Therese, and on St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Marian Consecration. The remainder of what is to be will now unfold in a poetic format:

    🌊Sooner rather than later the big “I” you must detest and dethrone
    🌊No matter the sentiments you experience as you moan and groan

    🌊As the “I” which is never small, concedes an inch here and an inch there,
    🌊 Jesus will be with present every step of the way to help with the resulting difficulties one might have to bear

    🌊The focus is now shifted, it’s on the “us”, it’s all about the “we”
    🌊With the horizon now expanding, a new reality is what we are privy to see

    🌊As each new day unfolds, it’s more important than ever before
    🌊That Merciful Love consume you more and more

    🌊So refreshing when the spiritual real estate of a soul becomes the
    property of it’s rightful owner tract but tract.
    🌊Oh happy fact, what a “smile as wide as a mile” happy fact
    🌊That’s one plan of action where there will never be a valid reason to redact
    🌊A surrender and consecration to Divine Mercy is one instrument that helps one formally sign the pact

    🌊How many lots there are, so vast is the stretched out spiritual territory
    🌊But thanks be to God one day, Oh my Lord , it will all belong to Thee

    🌊Oh course there is weeping and copious tears that at times are shed
    🌊Trouble in paradise when the big “I” realizes it’s just a matter of time before he’ll be as good as dead

    🌊But the soul is never left comfortless, receiving prime Divine TLC
    🌊Like a floodgate opened by the big Three, The Almighty Trinity
    🌊Overwhelmingly nurtured, in every way, settled & soothed will each one be
    🌊Refreshed, thereby able to continue the journey to participate and hail at all cost the concept of spiritual transformity.

    🌊Yes, it all boils down to one simple thing, really one main call, that’s all
    🌊Becoming small, very, very small

    🌊It’s scriptural: “It is expedient unto Him to increase, but unto me, to decrease”
    🌊A good thing because that way unending help will be available without cease

    🌊Really, that is some good news
    🌊Cause following the Lord’s tried & true way you absolutely can’t lose

    🌊How sweet, it’s so, so very sweet
    🌊Because never, ever, will the helpless & the small have to go down in defeat

    🌻God’s love is our’s 4 always, 4 ever & ever
    We’re blest, so no need 2 B stressed, never, never
    I pray U enough, cause Blessed B God in all His gifts
    It’s a sure thing, solid! No buts, no maybes, and no ifs
    / \ tmm/PTL

  2. oneview says:

    Perfect for today’s reading (1 Corin 2:1-5) for the memorial of the passion of St. John the Baptist, who became small so Christ could increase (John 3:30). Thanks for helping me make the connections!

    • tmm says:

      Hi OneView,
      Thank you for helping me to see that it was in perfect Divine timing that Dr.TJN serve as an inspiration for the poem created yesterday. A graphic is made for all poems and a rhyming title is a must. Well the chosen title is: “~ One Call ~ Become Small ~”. The graphic contain two pictures that say: “He must increase, I must decrease”, and “More of You, less of me”. In addition there are three pictures of Jesus. He is holding a group of people in the palms of His hands in one picture, in another picture He is towering over lowly ones that are looking up at Him, and another photo shows a man with raised hands in supplication looking up at Jesus in the sky. Plans are for attending Mass later today, so will definitely pay strict attention and give thanks to God. When praying the Communion Antiphon: “John answered and said:He must increase’ but I must decrease”, can’t wait to implore John’s help for me to mean what is being said. A prayer for you for getting the connection, serving as a confirmation, and for graces that we all might plug in permanently to the spiritual becoming our true selves.

      🌻God’s love is our’s 4 always, 4 ever & ever
      We’re blest, so no need 2 B stressed, never, never
      I pray U enough, cause Blessed B God in all His gifts
      It’s a sure thing, solid! No buts, no maybes, and no ifs
      \ 😇/
      / \ tmm/PTL

      • Thank you for making all of these connections, and for the magnificent reference to the consecration to Divine Mercy. Thank you also as always for your poetry! It always enriches me and my work. Godspeed!

    • It really was the perfect and unanticipated connection. May it be so for all of us!

  3. WoopieCushion says:

    Little thank you from one of your big fans!

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