28 January 2012
"The significance of little things..." Dorothy Day
My copy of this book is heavily highlighted and I've read it multiple times. When we selected this book for SEASONS we were looking for a lodestone to help us endure this election year. I skimmed my highlights this week and found 18 sections that I tabbed for discussion. It is a book that has been important to my spiritual formation. Among many other things Dorothy Day taught me to care deeply for the poor.
We drew our discussion from "Small Things" (p. 74) from Day after Day, excerpts from her personal reflections and her editorials for The Catholic Worker.
"Today we are not content with little achievements, with small beginnings....
I suppose it is a grace not to be able to have time to take or derive satisfaction in the work we are doing. In what time I have my impulse is to self-criticism and examination of conscience, and I am constantly humbled at my own imperfections and my halting progress.... I do know how small and I am and how little I can do and I beg You, Lord, to help me, for I cannot help myself."
(p. 274) "The significance of our smallest acts! The significance of the little things we leave undone! The protests we do not make, the stands we do not take, we who are living in the world!"
(p. 96-97) "In Christ's human life, there were always a few who made up for the neglect of the crowd.... We can do it too, exactly as they did. We are not born too late. We do it by seeing Christ and serving Christ in friends and strangers, in every one we come in contact with.... For a total Christian, the goad of duty is not needed--always prodding one to perform this or that good deed. It is not a duty to help Christ, it is a privilege."
The Duty of Delight: the Diaries of Dorothy Day, edited by Robert Ellsberg is available in a Kindle edition.
I also recommend a movie Entertaining Angels (1996) which I recently watched on Netflix.
There are several wonderful interviews posted on YouTube:
Christopher Closeup part 1 of 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNMHud0fFUg