Being attentive to every epiphany of the mystery in our own and others’ lives enables us to see ourselves in a new way—not as cogs in the machine of an impersonal cosmos but as little words in the Divine Word. This sign of epiphanic living helps us to remember who we most deeply are, however often we forget to let God speak in and through us.
As little words, we accept our vulnerability and grow more mindful of our calling to love one another in response to Christ’s love of us. We try our best to show care and concern for the material and spiritual needs of others. Never do we doubt the power of God’s forgiveness. Nurses who communicate their expertise with a compassionate demeanor offer comfort to wounded souls. Charitable givers one day help to finance shelters for the homeless and the next serve meals to the poor in a soup kitchen. Their guide is the Golden Rule. It removes barriers that breed indifference and replaces them with bonds of respect. The gift of love lets us unwrap life layer by layer, as we would a precious package full of delightful surprises. A friend of mine told me that when she sets the table for guests, she stops at each place to say a prayer for the man, woman, or child about to gather for dinner. She no longer takes the ordinary for granted.
Little words like us enjoy the infinite richness of the Divine Word not only during an occasional retreat from the din of daily demands but in the sacrament of the present moment. Life becomes more like a rhythmic dance than a rubber band stretching us toward momentary contemplation and snapping us back to speed with no rest in between. The spirituality of littleness reveals ways to avoid compartmentalized living. Life becomes a graceful flow from presence to participation, from stillness to speech. The pledge to treasure everything, from the tiniest seashell to the tallest mountain range, indicates that we are on the way to fostering a renewed commitment to compassionate living.
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy neither analyzes nor judges her three odd friends. She accepts them as they are with their fretful, frenetic, fearful characters. Her love for them never wavers. As a result she gives them a new reason for keeping company with her and not losing their courage. We may not be wearing magic red shoes, but God leads us home through the power of the Spirit. Cured of wanderlust, we learn to interweave times of abiding with the Lord in quiet contemplation with working to embody Gospel values in everyday life. We grow in the conviction that God has a special purpose for each little word written there. God is the Divine Caregiver, who watches over us and provides for our needs in ways beyond our expectations.
God satisfies our longing to be really understood, treasured, and cared for as little words in the Divine Word. We want the script of our life to read in the way Jesus wrote it. We ask for the grace to be compassionate, generous, and gentle, not hiding in the darkness of sin and selfishness but enjoying the dawning of a new day, celebrating the dignity of life and the fullness of selfless love. Even if our numbers are small, our impact on society will be great. Consider the images used by the Lord to illustrate this truth. He compares true believers to light on the mountain, to leaven in the dough, to salt of the earth. Only a pinch of salt is necessary to make large dishes tasty. To believe that small is beautiful inspires us to enkindle hope in anyone who doubts the total trustworthiness of God.
When we fly at night over a mountainous region, lights flashing on the dark peaks around us may be few in number, but they are enough to guide our plane to a safe landing. The Lord is our compass through the storms of life. To focus on him is to relight the flame of love that warms our heart and to pass it on to those with whom we pray:
Thank you, Lord,
For walking on this earth
As one of us.
You are a living message
Of gentle love.
May your love be the center
Around which our life forms itself
Like a shell around an oyster
With its priceless pearl.
May your love melt all resistance
And begin to fashion
Our heart and all its feelings.
Make us sense
The silent stream of love
That flows into humanity
From the mystery of the Trinity.