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The Dangers of the Little Way

It is love that makes people do the unimportant things as if they were important things; or rather it is love that has elevated the mundane, the everyday, the banal of life to the heights of heaven. This is the little way and it is richly rewarded by a God who loved the little things enough to create and sustain them.

But the little way is not without its dangers. First notice, that there is a great temptation to do the unimportant things as if they were important things for a very different reason, and that is the love of self rather than neighbour. This is the man who laboriously washes his car with such care that he is hardly seen for hours. This is the woman who has striven for perfection in her career to the point where she has forfeited precious moments with her daughter that she can never regain. In these examples, the little way has become a place and time to hide from the important things.

The little way can also be destructive for another reason. Taken in the wrong way one may come to the conclusion that God does not want big things from us at all. One might conclude that He does not want heroic virtue or an obvious sanctity or a very public witness for all that is good and holy. In other words, the little way can become the tyrant in our spiritual lives that keeps us small not like the children but like the prisoner, always ineffective and inactive in the world out there.

And so, how do you avoid these pitfalls where you expected to find none? Do what you are supposed to do in your vocation no matter how small the task and do it with great love for others. And when God calls you to do something profound for the sake of the Kingdom within that same vocation do that also with great care and attention, knowing full well that God doesn’t need you to do it but that He wants you to do it. And that should be enough.

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