“And he went about doing good.”
This is true of you and of all your saints, my Lord,
who humbly walked in your footsteps.
But what am I, dear God—
living this little, insignificant life,
trying each day to pray, to love,
to let light possess, and shine in and through
the tiny heart within my breast?
It often seems not only little, but unimportant,
vain and empty, in comparison
with the richly-laden actions of your saints.
I am tempted to ask:
who in my life do I really benefit,
what fruit, indeed, do I bear?
Indeed, which heart can I say
that I have truly, wholeheartedly loved
—as you have first loved me?
I have empty hands,
which not only have nothing to offer,
but which have done little or no good,
in the face of a world aching with need,
crying out for the God it does not know!
If you yourself have drawn me here, my God,
to the place where there seems indeed to be nothing,
nothing but naked hope, prayer, and hidden desire,
impalpable even to myself,
then let it be, simply, as you will.
Even if it does good for a single person,
draws a single one closer into your embrace,
it is more than a thousand times worth it.
If it brings joy to you, or reflects your radiant light,
allowing the love to flow, which yearns,
unceasingly, to flow like this,
then it is more than infinitely repaid.
I offer my little, tiny, infinitely loved self,
without reserve, for the sake of all, to you.
Even if I do nothing, offering no more
than a poor and hidden heart,
let me only live each moment to the full
in the love that you yourself desire,
which you alone make possible
by pouring your own love into me.
This is the test for a little child’s heart:
to find the greatness of love in the littlest thing,
to embrace the whole world from my hidden room.
Why have you asked this, my God,
this path of the littlest, the least,
when you could have asked something else
—when you could have used me in ministry,
in preaching, teaching, in care for your poor,
in giving the sacraments, in so many ways?
Instead you lead me into the dryness of the desert,
to be silent and still,
not to receive divine revelations, carried to the world,
or to be a healer of souls who flock to me,
but simply to abide before you with open, empty hands,
trusting that, through this poverty,
the immensity of your mercy flows out
upon our dry and thirsty world,
to touch, to heal, to satisfy
the hearts which yearn so much for you.
This, I know, within my heart,
is indeed the best there could ever be;
the dryness of the desert sands,
the quietness and starkness of solitude,
indeed conceals abundant springs
and creates space for meeting and embrace.
The human heart, it is true,
desires to be great and noble
(and this is not bad),
to achieve something beautiful,
and yet the path marked out before me
is that of lowliness and humility
—as what is truly great.
Much deeper yet, the heart desires,
insofar as it can, to help the persons
who so deeply need—my God—need you!
Yet again, here too, there is nothing
but to be a little child,
which is everything.
Avoiding all that sparkles in the eyes of man,
becoming more little, more dependent, each day,
is the blessed, inconceivable grace
of being simply a “little brother” to each and all,
a brother so humble and so small
that my brethren, encountering me,
experience only the comfort and joy
of your tender closeness, your gentle mercy…
For here we are all sheltered in your Heart,
knit closely together, Jesus, in your arms.