Paul's Little Way

 

Ẹ máa yọ̀ nígbà gbogbo, ẹ máa gbadura nígbà gbogbo
ki o si dupẹ lọwọ ni gbogbo awọn ipo,
nitori eyi ni ifẹ Ọlọrun
fún yín nínú Kristi Jésù.” 
( 1 Tẹsalóníkà 5:16 ) .
 

LATI LATI Mo kọ ọ nikẹhin, igbesi aye wa ti sọkalẹ sinu rudurudu bi a ti bẹrẹ gbigbe lati agbegbe kan si ekeji. Lori oke yẹn, awọn inawo airotẹlẹ ati awọn atunṣe ti dagba larin ijakadi igbagbogbo pẹlu awọn alagbaṣe, awọn akoko ipari, ati awọn ẹwọn ipese fifọ. Lana, Mo nipari fẹ a gasiketi ati ki o ni lati lọ fun gun gun.

After a brief pouting session, I realized I had lost perspective; I have been caught up in the temporal, distracted by details, dragged into the vortex of others’ dysfunction (as well as my own). As tears streamed down my face, I sent a voice message to my sons and apologized for losing my cool. I had lost the one essential thing — that thing that the Father has repeatedly and quietly asked of me for years:

Ẹ kọ́kọ́ wá ijọba Ọlọrun ati ododo rẹ, ati pe gbogbo nkan wọnyi [ti ẹ nilo] ni a o fi fun yin pẹlu. (Mát. 6:33)

In truth, the past few months I have observed how living and praying “in the Divine Will” has brought a tremendous harmony, even amidst trials.[1]cf. Bí A Ṣe Lè Gbé Nínú Ìfẹ́ Ọlọ́run But when I begin the day in my will (even if I think my will is crucial), everything seems to slide downhill from there. What a simple directive: Wa akọkọ ijọba Ọlọrun. For me, that means beginning my day in communion with God in prayer; it then means doing the duty of each moment, which is the express will of the Father for my life and vocation.

 

THE PHONE CALL

As I was driving, I received a phone call from the Basilian priest Fr. Clair Watrin whom many of us consider a living saint. He was very active in grassroots movements in Western Canada and spiritual director to many. Whenever I went to confession with him, I was always moved to tears just by the presence of Jesus in him. He is over 90 years old now, confined in a senior’s home (they won’t let them visit others now because of “Covid”, the flu, etc., which is frankly cruel), and thus living in an institutionalized prison, bearing his own struggles. But then he said to me, 

…and yet, I am amazed at how God has been so good to me, how much He loves me and has given me the gift of the True Faith. All we have is the present moment, right now, as we talk to each other on the phone. This is where God is, in the present; this is all we have since we may not have tomorrow. 

He went on to speak of the mystery of suffering, which made me recall what our parish priest said on Good Friday:

Jesus did not die to save us from suffering; He died to save us nipasẹ suffering. 

And here we come then to St. Paul’s Little Way. Of this scripture, Fr. Clair said, “Trying to live this Scripture has changed my life”:

Ẹ máa yọ̀ nígbà gbogbo, ẹ máa gbadura nígbà gbogbo ki o si dupẹ lọwọ ni gbogbo awọn ipo, nitori eyi ni ifẹ Ọlọrun for you in Christ Jesus. ( 1 Tẹsalóníkà 5:16 ) .

If we are to “seek first the Kingdom of God”, then this scripture is the way…

 

 

ST. PAUL’S LITTLE WAY

“Rejoice Always”

How does one rejoice over suffering, whether it is physical, mental, or spiritual? The answer is two-fold. The first is that nothing happens to us that is not the permissive Will of God. But why would God allow me to suffer, especially when it’s really, really painful? The answer is that Jesus came to save us nipasẹ our suffering. He told His Apostles: “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me…” [2]John 4: 34 Ati lẹhin naa Jesus showed us the way through His own suffering.

The strongest thing which binds the soul is to dissolve her will in Mine. —Jesus to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, March 18th, 1923, Vol. 15  

The second answer to this mystery is irisi. If I focus on the misery, injustice, inconvenience or disappointment, then I’m losing perspective. On the other hand, I can also surrender and accept that even this is the Will of God, and thus, the instrument of my purification. 

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

This is what we call “the cross.” In fact, I think surrendering Iṣakoso over a situation is sometimes more painful than the situation itself! When we accept the Will of God “like a child” then, indeed, we can rejoice in the rain without an umbrella. 

 

“Pray Constantly”

In the beautiful teachings on prayer in the Catechism ti Ijo Catholic o sọ pe, 

In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is “the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity . . . with the whole human spirit.” Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ. (CCC, n. 2565)

In other words, God is always present to me, but am I present to Him? While one can’t always meditate and formulate “prayers”, we le do the duty of the moment — “small things” — with great love. We can wash the dishes, sweep the floor, or speak to others with deliberate love and attention. Have you ever done a menial task like tightening a bolt or taking out the trash with love for God and neighbour? This, too, is prayer because “God is love”. How can love not be the highest offering?

Sometimes in the car when I’m with my wife, I just reach over and hold her hand. That is enough to “be” with her. Being with God does not always require n ṣe “ie. saying devotions, going to Mass, etc.” It is really just letting Him reach over and hold your hand, or vice versa, and then keep driving. 

Gbogbo ohun ti wọn nilo lati ṣe ni mimu ni iṣotitọ awọn iṣẹ ti o rọrun ti Kristiẹniti ati awọn ti a pe fun nipasẹ ipo igbesi aye wọn, gba ni idunnu pẹlu gbogbo awọn iṣoro ti wọn ba pade ati fi silẹ si ifẹ Ọlọrun ni gbogbo eyiti wọn ni lati ṣe tabi jiya-laisi, ni eyikeyi ọna , wiwa wahala fun ara wọn… Ohun ti Ọlọrun ṣeto fun wa lati ni iriri ni iṣẹju kọọkan ni ohun ti o dara julọ ati mimọ julọ ti o le ṣẹlẹ si wa. — Fr. Jean-Pierre de Caussade Sisọ si ipese Ọlọhun, (DoubleDay), oju-iwe 26-27

 

“Give thanks in all circumstances”

But there is nothing more disruptive to dwelling peacefully in God’s presence than unexpected or prolonged suffering. Trust me, I am Exhibit A.

Fr. Clair has been in and out of the hospital lately, and yet, he spoke to me in all sincerity of the many blessings he has such as being able to walk, to still write emails, to pray, etc.. It was beautiful to hear his heartfelt thanksgiving flow from an authentic child-like heart. 

On the other hand, I had been rehashing the list of problems, obstacles, and frustrations we’ve been facing. So, here again, St. Paul’s Little Way is one of regaining irisi. One who is constantly negative, talking about how bad things are, how the world is against them… ends up being toxic to those around them. If we are going to open our mouths, we ought to be deliberate about what we say. 

Nitorinaa, ẹ fun ara yin ni iyanju ki ẹ si gbe ara yin ró, bi o ti ri nitootọ. (1 Tẹsalóníkà 5:11)

And there is no more beautiful and pleasing way to do this than to give praise to God for all the blessings He has bestowed.  There is no better and powerful way to remain “positive” (ie. a blessing to those around you) than this.

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come. Through him [then] let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. (Hebrews 13:14-15)

This is St. Paul’s Little Way… rejoice, pray, give thanks, always — for what is happening in the present moment, right now, is God’s Will and food for you. 

…do not worry anymore… Instead seek his kingdom
and all your needs will be given you besides.
Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.
(Luku 12: 29, 31-32)

 

 

 

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