On the Little Way


Dwight Longenecker, a contributor over at Envoy, has written a delightful and insightful book titled St. Benedict and St. Thérèse: The Little Rule and the Little Way in which he talks at some length about the convergences of the twain:

fromSt. Benedict and St. Thérèse: The Little Rule and the Little Way
Dwight Longenecker

Benedict and Thérèse call for a kind of childhood in which perfect freedom is found in strict adherence to the rules.

If Father Benedict and Sister Thérèse silence the theologians, they silence the religious leaders too. All those who would divide the Church over grace or works, Scripture or Tradition, sacraments or word, service or sanctity, will be united in the wisdom of Benedict and Thérèse. If any Christian reads the two saints of the little way, they will also be united with every other disciple of Christ. Benedict draws all Christians together because he speaks from a time before the terrible divisions in Christ's Church. Thérèse unites Christians because her little doctirne of grace alone is a magnet to both Catholics and Protestants. Balthasar says, "One would have to be blind not to see that Thérèse's doctrine of the little way answers point by point the program outlined by the Reformers and that she presents the Church's bold, irrefutable answer to Protestant spirituality." (p. 42)

There is much, much more worthy of your attention in the pages. And I have to say that browsing through the IVP catalog--a mainstay of evangelical publishing, I've been quite surprised by recent offerings. Naturally, they offer all the Church Fathers. But they also are offering books on other saints. Notably they offer a biography of St. Francis of Assisi (an easy Saint to like and even to admire), but mysteriously, they offer a biography of St. Teresa of Avila, who while very engaging and likeable, did not put too fine a point on what she thought about Luther and his ilk stirring up trouble for the Church.

While I know that it is not humanly possible, I do not refrain from the prayer "E pluribus unum." As we once were, one church, so we should work to become again. But I say this cautiously because in the course of returning to Christ's intention for the world, we should not be willing to compromise or sacrifice one iota of the revealed truth of Jesus Christ, either through Biblical Revelation or the understandings of Tradition including the magisterium of the Church. This will forge a weak and false unity. However, so long as there are LaHaye and Jenkins types who fear "one world church" we need not worry too much about unity--and that is a terrible shame.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 19, 2003 7:59 AM.

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