I have been doing Sidewalk counseling for the past eight months and I’ve never had what they call ‘a save’. I’ve never encountered drama, I’ve never been heroic, I’ve never had any eye-opening experience. I’ve never spoken to any women other than one single mother who eventually gave in to despair and went ahead with the abortion. I stand there among awesome people who work for God tirelessly saving a soul a week from abortion. Like Mr. M. Sometimes it’s disheartening. But that’s the work of devil. However I cannot say I’ve never really made an impact.
A lot of times I used to feel ashamed of looking at the sub-normal level of my role at the sidewalk and wonder what in the world am I doing here, doing nothing. I was always afraid of being insignificant and not making a difference, of not just failing but being average. I always felt uneasy with my presumption of people’s expectations of how I would be at the Sidewalk. I had thoughts about people mocking at me to consider it was ridiculous for me to think of becoming a Sidewalk Counselor. If you have had moments as these better don’t let them stop you from standing up for the unborn, the dying, the terminally ill, the abused or the vulnerable; because, we share something fascinating and you will understand the greatness of smallness by the end of this post.
Everyone must have had an idea about the jewish holocaust. The monstrosity of evil couldn’t triumph over good and it was the great time of sanctity, sainthood and stout heartedness. Saints made best use of this time to show their love for God and neighbor. But among the 2579 catholic clergymen who were imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp Fr. Karl Leisner wants to tell us something very profound.
Dachau concentration camp was the result of deep hatred Nazi’s had towards the Church and a strong evidence that World War II was not a political event but a spiritual one. I would love to look at your face when I tell you that there was Holy Sacrifice of Mass and secret ordinations happening in the middle of a concentration camp among all the intensity of agony. Smuggling flowers for the altar and passing secret messages of prayer times, having a person to look out while singing hymns and breaking bread. Satan would have felt a terrible blow right on the face while looking at people making vestments secretly managing to find altar cloths, rusted old table and bringing hosts. Everything at the cost of immediate death or torture. How on earth would someone smuggle flowers for Mass when they knew they would be shot? isn’t that small thing look great now? Letting go of one’s life while picking flowers for Holy Mass where Christ would be present in body, blood,soul and divinity for others amidst the horrors unleashed by evil forces. And now it makes sense when St. John of the Cross said: “At the end of the day we will be judged on love alone”.
In the middle of the institutionalized and widely accepted and celebrated human torture was a day of complete magnificence in Dachau. A secret ordination for Fr. Karl Leisner. A taste of heaven in hell. Fr.Karl was suffering from tuberculosis while he was in camp and lost hope of being ordained. During this time Msgr. Gabriel Piquet, Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand in France was transferred from the Natzweiler concentration camp in Alsace to Dachau. He worked along with Cardinal Faulhaber and the Bishop of Muenster and the arrangements for ordination began. Father Karl celebrated his first Mass on Dec. 26 — the feast of St. Stephen the Martyr, but it was the only Mass he would ever celebrate. He died in a sanatorium in few months after Dachau was liberated. Now does this one Mass look small, tiny, meager or trivial or does it look great and glorious? Fr. Karl was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II. How about that !
We have to remember that “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – vincent van gogh. We don’t have to be or become great. The essence is in littleness. The only third woman to become the Doctor of the Church revolutionized spirituality with this concept. Because the perspective of God is so different from the way we see and measure things. While organizations can go flurry over how many saves they had, how many turnarounds they achieved only God can see how much love you carry in your heart to try and do something for these little ones. While numbers serve great purpose and can be used to encourage people, no one should lose spirit because they couldn’t make statistics. let me tell you that sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart. Winnie the Pooh didn’t say it but St. Therese of Lisieux did. God can see through you and again sorry but i’ll have to quote her again: “You know well enough 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.” -Saint Therese of Lisieux
So never be afraid to be little, do little, it is the Love that matters most. So next time you see or hear someone being low in spirits because their actions weren’t supposedly great or dramatic or the outcome of their efforts weren’t huge or brilliant or that no woman changed her mind from abortion or no child was saved or no worker left the abortion clinic or no souls converted tell them that still it looks great in sight of God. Because even we adults would naturally be carried away by how a child shows it’s love and there’s no doubt God will be pleased by our little effort and who knows He might be going around saying “oh look what my child did today!” in a proud fashion of a father and His grace will make impossible things possible. The more we are little the more God can work through us. Because at the end of the day we will be judged on love alone.