The Little Way of the Infant Jesus

I found this excerpt from my November The Word Among Us. I had never heard of Caryll Houselander before. Now, I am intrigued. This excerpt simply resonated with me and made so much sense to me. This is from the book, Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross. As you read these excerpts, think of the baby as Jesus.

"Before a child is born, the questions which everyone asks is "What can I give him?" When he is born, he rejects every gift that is not the gift of self..."

So true isn't it? How often have we experienced this? What the baby really wants is to be held and cuddled and loved. Everything else, he does not appreciate. Even as the infant grows into a toddler, we jokingly lament that the child is more interested in the box than in the expensive toy that it housed. Material presents cannot really replace the gift of selfless love and the gift of time that parents can give to their children.

"The first giving of this love to a newly born is the reshaping of our whole life, in its large essentials and in its every detail... The infant demands everything, and trivial though everything may seem when set out and tabulated, the demand is all the more searching because it seizes upon our daily lives and every details of which they are built up.

The sound or our voice must be modulated - the words that we use must be considered, our movements restrained, slowed down, and trained to be both decisive and gentle.

Our rooms must be rearranged; everything that is superfluous and of no use to the infant must be thrown out ... what remains must be placed in the best position, not for us, but for him.

There must be a new timing of our lives, a more holy ordering of our time, which is no longer to be ruled by our impulses and caprice, but by the rhythm of the little child.

All our senses must be given to him, and we must give him our hands. We must give him our hands, tending his needs and washing his clothes. In his service, we must overcome all delicacy and fastidiousness...

In this reordering our life, this resetting of it to the pace of the infant's life and the new simplicity imposed on it, we ourselves are made new... in the service of the infant we are made whole. Every detail of our life is set by it into a single pattern, and ordered by a single purpose. We are integrated by the singleness of one compelling love."

WOW. I don't know if it has the same impact on you. To me, it is simply wow! I've known what discipleship - following Christ entails - total surrender. But reading it in this context of caring for a baby's needs just brings it home to me. This is something I can really relate to. This is something that I know so well. And this tells me that I can do this. If I can surrender and be completely devoted to my baby's needs, I can surrender and be completely devoted to my Lord's needs as well.