The little way

“We all wish for recognition of one kind or another. But it is mass action people think of these days. They lose sight of the sacrament of the present moment — of the little way. [. . .] As St. Paul says, it is by little and by little that we are saved — or that we fall. We are living in this world and must make choices now, choices which may mean the sacrifice of our lives, in the future, but for now our goods, our reputations even. Our work is called futile, our stand of little worth or significance, having no influence, winning no converts, ineffective if not a form a treason. Or it is termed defeatism, appeasement, escapism.

“What a paradox it is, this natural life and this supernatural life. We must give up our lives to gain them; we must die to live; we must be pruned to bear fruit. Ah yes, when we are being called appeasers, defeatists, we are being deprived of our dearest goods — our reputation, honor, the esteem of men — and we are truly on the way to becoming the despised of the earth. We are beginning perhaps to be truly poor.

“We are trying to spread the gospel of peace, to persuade others to extend the peace movement, to build up a mighty army of conscientious objectors. And in doing this we are accounted fools, and it is the folly of the Cross in the eyes of an unbelieving world” (pp. 104-105).

— Dorothy Day, Selected Writings: By Little and By Little


About Ben Kautzer

I am currently dwelling in the intangible space of the between. Having finished my MA in Philosophical Theology at the University of Nottingham, I decided to take a bit of a break, return to California, and start applying for PhD programs. That process is finally drawing to a close. This Fall I will be commencing my doctoral research in political theology at either the University of Nottingham, Durham, or Bristol. As of yet, that future still remains (uncomfortably) uncertain. My recent academic pursuits tend to focus on political theology (ecclesiology, ethics, politics, liturgy), biblical theology (scriptural narrative, hermeneutics, philosophy of memory and historical method), and Continental Philosophy (especially phenomenology). View all posts by Ben Kautzer

One response to “The little way

  • 4854derrida


    I’ve just uploaded two rare interviews with the Catholic activist Dorothy Day. One was made for the Christophers [1971]–i.e., Christopher Closeup– and the other for WCVB-TV Boston [1974].

    Day had begun her service to the poor in New York City during the Depression with Peter Maurin, and it continued until her death in 1980. Their dedication to administering to the homeless, elderly, and disenfranchised continues with Catholic Worker homes in many parts of the world.

    Please post or announce the availability of these videos for those who may be interested in hearing this remarkable lay minister.

    They may be located here:

    Thank you

    Dean Taylor

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