The Little Way of Lent
When we look at the lives of the Saints we often consider their great and wondrous deeds. Their lives are full of amazing things done for and with God, to His glory. Sometimes, it can seem a little daunting when we are asked in Lent to emulate the Saints. Surely these amazing things are for the more holy and not me? We know with experience beginning Lent with the best of intentions but very quickly falling short because we have given up too many things or taken on too much.
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux teaches us that there is an another way, the Little Way of Lent.
When Thérèse was young she wanted to be the hero. She dressed up as Saint Joan of Arc, the courageous young French warrior of Jesus. Thérèse wrote, “I long to accomplish the most heroic deeds; I feel within me the courage of the crusader. I would die on the battlefield in defense of the Church!”
But Thérèse soon realised that she was not able to be like the great heroic Saints with their mighty deeds. She was a sickly girl who joined an enclosed covenant in a small town in France. How could she possibly change the world?
This is when she discovered the Little Way. While reading First Corinthians, a Letter in the New Testament of the Bible, she realised that love is the heart of the Church. With that Thérèse also realised that her vocation was love. “It is love alone which makes the members of the Church work … that love is everything.”
Being unable to do great and marvellous deeds, Thérèse realised that “Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” The smallest deeds done with love become great in God’s sight.
This lent, why not challenge yourself to follow the Little Way of Lent. To fill each day with small sacrifices which are done in proper love of God, your neighbour and yourself. The sacrifices we make can be small, tiny even, but done in love they are precious to the Lord.
The beauty of this Little Way of Lent is that we can all do it. A smile, a pleasant word, a cup of tea made for a loved one, a quick phone call to someone lonely. Forsaking that first morning Coffee, or going without milk in your tea, or not going for seconds of that delicious meal. The limits of little acts of love have not been set.
This Little Way of Lent is not easy, but it is simple. It’s something we can keep going back to each day of Lent and it’s an imitation of Jesus who suffered so that we might have life. The Little Way of Lent is a little inconvenience to us so that others may glimpse God’s love for them through our love.