Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

November 21, 2012

Keeping the Faith: Humble yourself to get to heaven

CROSSVILLE — One of my favorite Brennan Manning quotes is about heaven, but only indirectly. It’s more about how to best live our lives today. Manning says, “Heaven will be filled with preschoolers. No adults will be allowed admittance.” Brennan’s quote duplicates the words of Jesus: “The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children,” Christ said.

Jesus wasn’t idealizing childhood or emphasizing a child’s innocence with those words. No, he was pointing to the status of a child. If you want to get somewhere spiritually, Jesus says, you don’t get there by clawing your way to top. You have to descend to the lowest possible place in the social strata. You humble yourself, because you have to get small to fit through the door that leads to the kingdom of God.

So every time we feel ourselves being led away from childlike simplicity and dependence upon God, we must return to the nursery, remembering that there can be no status-striving in the ways of God. We resist and remove those things that lure us into a state where we are not wholly and completely dependent upon God.

No, the world doesn’t operate this way, but this is exactly why the witness of the church is required. In a society marked by smear campaigns, scraping and fighting to get to the top of the heap, grotesque levels of inequality and greed, broken promises and broken deals, cheating and killing just to get to be number one, when we become as humble children, we show society a better way to live.

Thankfully, from time to time, God gifts the church with those rare individuals who remind us of Jesus’ words. One of those people was a French teenager who lived a century ago named Therese Martin, better known today as St. Therese of Lisieux. Therese entered a Carmelite convent when she was only 15, with one ambition: To become a saint.

The Carmelites certainly lent themselves to her pursuit. The Carmelites demanded strict obedience, continuous prayers, long periods of fasting and silence, vows of isolation and poverty, and overall a severe approach to spirituality. This was the perfect place for one looking to achieve the peak of the religious honor system. And this was the exact place that Therese utterly failed.

Six years into her cloistered life in the convent, and suffering from poor health and debilitating bouts of depression, she realized that all her striving and religious go-getting was useless. She was exhausted by it all, and simply could not do it. Giving up on sainthood altogether, and despairing of life, it was about this time that she read a single line from the book of Proverbs that changed everything: “Whoso is little, let him come to me.”

She named this discovery “The Little Way,” realizing that the only way up, was down. For the rest of her very short life (she died at the age of 24), she quit trying so hard at trying so hard, and learned to become a child once again.

She wrote, “Children are always giving trouble, falling down, getting themselves dirty, breaking things; but all this does not shake their parents’ love for them…I rejoice to be little because only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.”

Often critiqued as overly simplistic and naïve, Therese and her “Little Way” are rejected by those who feel the need for greater complexity or intellectualism in their faith. Maybe these critics reject her conclusions because they simply feel the need for more: More responsibility, more steps up the religious ladder to the top, more ways to gain respect, status, or a higher standing, and the need for a more honorable reputation.

Yet, Therese was right on target, and not because her way ironically led to her sainthood. She was right because her way reflected the way of Jesus. And reflecting Jesus is more than enough, because his way, “The Little Way,” always leads us to abandon ourselves like a child, into the arms of God.

• • •

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

1
Text Only
Glade Sun
  • Pats big day - Jensen photo.jpg FFG Resident Services presents painting to the Pat Summitt Foundation

    A dramatic portrait of Pat Summitt, painted by Chuck Jensen, was presented to the Pat Summitt Foundation by Fairfield Glade Resident Services at its Community Information Event on memory care.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFG Rotary district gov1.jpg Rotary District Governor visits Glade Rotary Club

    The Fairfield Glade Rotary Club welcomed Rotary District Governor Jerry Wear from Pigeon Forge.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 'Anything Goes' to benefit Resident Services

    In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now heaven knows, Anything Goes.

    July 23, 2014

  • Simms work on display beginning Aug. 3

    From Aug. 3 to Aug. 29, the Cumberland Art Society (CAS) will exhibit original creations by award-winning artist John Simms, who is internationally recognized as a Master Portrait Painter. The Creating Tomorrow’s Heirlooms exhibit will feature fine art in oil, acrylics, watercolors and charcoal. Please plan to meet Simms from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3, at the CAS Backdoor Gallery, 186 S. Walnut St. in Cookeville.

    July 23, 2014

  • Read the latest edition of "The Bulletin"

    The Crossville Chronicle-Glade Sun also publishes a newsletter called "The Bulletin" in which you'll find a schedule of Glade activities and events, a restaurant and dining guide, golf information, and even tour schedules. Click here for the latest PDF edition of "The Bulletin."

    April 21, 2010 1 Link

  • Rafael 4.jpeg.jpg 'Wild Man' debuts at Palace Aug. 23

    "He's cool!" "He's famous!" "He's awesome!" "He's an icon!" "Ladies love him!" And, "He's Wild!"
    Crossville's own Wild Man Billy Ralph, Rafael R. Soriano, known for his signature song "The Dark Stranger," is making his debut appearance at the Palace Theatre Aug. 23.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFG Garden scholarships1.jpg FFG Garden Club presents five students with scholarships

    The Fairfield Glade Garden Club, in conjunction with members of the 1st National Bank of Tennessee, honored three returning students and two new students with scholarships as they continue their agricultural and horticultural education in their selected fields.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Normandie 2010 014.jpg Faith Bible Fellowship welcomes missionary musicians July 27

    Longtime French radio program producers and musicians, Daniel and Francoise Dossmann have lived through many transitions throughout their lives. Thirty years ago, they traveled from France to Ecuador to serve as missionaries with HCJB Global, (now Reach Beyond). After 17 years in Quito, Ecuador, they began a new phase of ministry in the West African country of Cote d’Ivoire. At the end of 2004, a civil war erupted and a mandatory evacuation ensued.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Abacus Column: Fairfield Glade golf courses — a product of talent, desire and commitment

    On a recent Friday morning, a friend and I were playing the back nine of Dorchester Golf course. At the tee box on the unique par three 13th Hole, we met a young gentleman named Rob Krumple. Rob is a course maintenance employee reporting to Dorchester Superintendent Mike Wilson. My friend and I often comment about the excellent condition of our courses and since we had opportunity to pass a compliment on to Rob, we did.

    July 23, 2014

  • rotary0039.jpg Rotary Club presents scholarships

     

    July 23, 2014 4 Photos

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014