The Four Levels of “The Little Way”

by Deacon Dan Leetch, Director of Pastoral Services

Several ‘new’ initiatives form the foundation of the Strategic Plan of the Diocese of Pueblo in the next 3 – 5 years.

This plan is the result of the Listening Sessions held by Bishop Isern at all the parishes, long careful work by the Presbyteral Council, and was promulgated by Bishop Berg in the December 2017 edition of Today’s Catholic. It will shape the future of our diocese. How fortunate we are to have St Therese of the Child Jesus interceding for us as we move forward to enjoying the fruit of this hard work. This Plan is directly supported by three initiatives: Intentional Discipleship and the Ananias Training; the Amazing Parish process helping us to focus on what is most important right now; and the 4 Levels of Happiness training throughout the Diocese.

To date, over 1500 parishioners have taken part in 20 parish or deanery presentations of the “4 Levels of Happiness” training. An additional 6 parish presentations are scheduled through the end of October. Participants learn how living at the higher levels of Happiness is essential to the success of our Strategic Plan, they make a commitment to live “above the line”, and see how the 4 Levels fit together with the spirituality of the “Little Way of St Therese”.

This spirituality of the Little Way is what gives life to all of our initiatives, and gives us all the hope of success as we grow into becoming “The Diocese of the Little Way”. We will all seek to do small things with great love, and trust in the mercy and love of Jesus Christ.

St Therese teaches us to recognize our humbleness. She tells us to be humble and small, like a little sparrow, which Jesus cannot help but reach down and gather into his love. St Therese tells us to be hungry and keep trying, to “raise your little foot to scale the stairway of holiness”, even though we know we will not be able to ascend the heights alone. Jesus will be conquered by our futile efforts and take us to himself. Finally, St Therese teaches us to be smart, to keep trusting in God’s Mercy. She wants us to fully believe that Jesus will do what he says he will do. It is the only prayer that can equip us to live out of this belief. Regular daily prayer and meditation is the path to living humble, hungry, and smart.

There are many resources available to learn more about this “Little Way” that we are planning to follow. Two of the best resources are The Story of a Soul by Fr John Clarke and 33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr Michael Gaitley (especially week 2 of this guidebook). Both are available at a bookstore near you or on the internet. Get a copy and begin or continue your walk on the path of “The Little Way”. St Therese will be there to soften your footfalls with a shower of roses! And if you don’t know the meaning of those ideas in the second paragraph above, ask your parish to host a presentation of the “4 Levels of Happiness”, attend, and find out!

First, I admit and accept that “I cannot overcome the trials of life and become who I am meant to be, on my own.” Second, with total confidence in His merciful love for me, I pray: “Jesus, please come and help me by making all things possible.” When these two actions become the spiritual air that I daily breathe, then I am living The Little Way.

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, is now pointing us forward, with the Strategic Plan to illuminate our next steps. Therefore, as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, in positioning ourselves to become The Diocese of The Little Way, each of us is being called to participate by embracing her inspiring path:

With all my heart, I will…

R

Recognize my littleness

O

Offer everything to Jesus with confidence

S

Surrender to His Merciful Love

E

Evangelize others to do the same!