Mallett on “Small Matters”

jesus and joseph

(I am having some technical problems with embedding links into texts in my posts right now. Folks at the server will be getting back to me on how to troubleshoot it soon. Meantime, I just have to add links manually – which means I will probably put fewer in until the problem is fixed.)

Mark Mallett has another wonderful post up today on simplicity and obedience. I have always loved asking people if God ever had a duty to be obedient to man. The obvious answer is no, but as with many things of God, there is often an exception – usually to show us the way. The one exception I know of is after the temple, when Jesus went up with Mary and Joseph, was obedient to them, and grew in goodness and grace. I think that if God could humble Himself to be obedient to men for a time – even creatures as holy as Mary and Joseph – why do we so rebel at the very thought of obedience to someone we think may know or do less than we do?

Several years ago I gave a copy of the picture above, beautifully framed, to my Father. He has had some health and other issues lately. But Glory! Growing up, He was a very model of a St. Joseph, living integrity and joy. My siblings and I were blessed to have such a noble soul as a model.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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12 Responses to Mallett on “Small Matters”

  1. Beautiful. Another exception is that God also obeys a mere man – a Catholic priest – whenever he says “this is my Body” during the Consecration at Mass.


  2. There are several times He obeys each priest; in the Sacraments, when they bless in His name etc. By His own counsel He wants it this way.


  3. laura says:

    The sign that you have this virtue (obedience) is patience, and impatience is the sign that you do not have it. -St. Catherine of Sienna


    • charliej373 says:

      I am trying to be very patient with the glitch here on embedding links, Laura 🙂

      Seriously, a few years ago, my sister was a manager at a farmer’s co-op. I stopped in to talk to her about something one day and they were beyond busy. She was helping behind the counter and the lines at each register were about four deep. One older fellow kept calling to her, trying to butt ahead of everyone else. She looked at him fiercely after about the third time and told him, “I will get to you when its your turn – not before.” He grumbled irritably that he had been praying for more patience. Irritated myself, I looked at him and snapped, “When you pray for patience, God does not magically give you patience: He gives you opportunities to be patient. So instead of complaining why don’t you thank God for answering your prayer?” He looked at me in stunned surprise and said, You’re right. I should have known that. I’m a preacher.” Then he started saying a little prayer.

      You never know when you are going to give effective witness – or what your mood is going to be like when you do.


  4. Fr. Bill Bowling says:

    Ha! I love your story. When folks in confession talk about struggles with patience, I do tell them that by God’s grace they will have lots of opportunities to grow in this virtue, and to give thanks for them. It is quite the next step to recognize that God given opportunity, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing, even if it is through gritted teeth (and I have plenty enough personal experience with this struggle to be very sympathetic).

    In my younger years I had the bad habit of “flipping the bird and saying the word” – particularly when driving and when I thought people wouldn’t see (or hear) my irritation. I thought it was an ok way to vent. Until the day when, as a new priest, I was driving somewhere, I was running late, somebody cut me off, and that old habit popped out — and while I was wearing my priestly collar! Oh my!!!! I was so shocked with myself that I vowed in that moment to never do it again. I learned over time to exchange that bad habit of cursing for a prayer of blessing. Praying a prayer of blessing over a situation or person is a far more powerful way of dealing with it than uttering curses and making rude gestures. And in my case, since that memory is so vivid, the prayer of blessing makes me smile.

    Connecting this thought to the post from Mark Mallett does give one pause to consider the humility of God, who offers Himself to us in such surprising ways. He comes to us in the Eucharist, always responsive to the prayers of the priest in the Eucharistic Prayer. He comes so simply – a bit of bread and wine – and so gloriously in His Body and Blood, soul and divinity. He comes to us in the distressing disguise of the poor – so unassuming. It is not therefore beyond considering that he comes to us in those irritating situations as well, in order to test us a little and assist us in the growth of virtue. It is all designed to form us into the saints He calls us to be in our time.

    This is part of what I’ve learned about following the “little way” which, person by person, has the power to change the world by God’s grace. Thank you Charlie for sharing your wit and wisdom in your posts.


    • charliej373 says:

      We try…but sometimes those old habits pop out, Fr. Bill. I built a reputation as being very steady and patient under fire and in stress in my political days – but sometimes privately hot-tempered. Once, at a public event where someone had just made a nuisance of himself in a Q & A after I spoke, I was very patient throughout and ended it finally with a gentle “Bless you.” When we left, a party official who had been near me burst out laughing and said he heard what I muttered under my breath after the “Bless you.” I blushed – for what I had muttered was “…and the horse you rode in on.”

      Thank God He knows we are a work in progress – but you and I must pray together to keep our birds and horses in the barn where they belong.


    • Kati says:

      Lol! I seem to be hearing this same message everywhere in the last few days. Pretty strong whispers from the Father I believe. Yesterday after Mass, a wonderful Dominican Sister shared with me something that had radically changed her life. She said that it was very powerful and that one should understand this before praying it. It is called the Litany of Humility.

      O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
      From the desire of being esteemed,
      Deliver me, Jesus.
      From the desire of being loved…
      From the desire of being extolled …
      From the desire of being honored …
      From the desire of being praised …
      From the desire of being preferred to others…
      From the desire of being consulted …
      From the desire of being approved …
      From the fear of being humiliated …
      From the fear of being despised…
      From the fear of suffering rebukes …
      From the fear of being calumniated …
      From the fear of being forgotten …
      From the fear of being ridiculed …
      From the fear of being wronged …
      From the fear of being suspected …

      That others may be loved more than I,………Jesus, grant me the grace
      to desire it.
      That others may be esteemed more than I …
      That, in the opinion of the world,
      others may increase and I may decrease …
      That others may be chosen and I set aside …
      That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
      That others may be preferred to me in everything…
      That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy
      as I should…

      Dying To Self

      When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and
      you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your
      heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ…that is dying
      to self.

      When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your
      advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger
      rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take all in patient,
      loving silence…that is dying to self.

      When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity,
      any impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face to face with
      waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility- and endure it as
      Jesus endured…that is dying to self.

      When you are content with any food, any offering, and climate, any
      society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God…that is dying
      to self.

      When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record
      your own good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly
      love to be unknown…that is dying to self.

      When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can
      honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God,
      while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances…that
      is dying to self.

      When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature
      than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly,
      finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart…that is
      dying to self

      Are you dead yet?


      • marie says:

        Kati, this is just brilliant – and perfectly applies to me … I have printed it out and will endeavour to pray it frequently. Thanks so much.


      • June1 says:

        Oh, my goodness, Kati. Thank you for posting this. I am going to keep this on my phone so I can see it daily. This is what I think I need, too. I hate desiring affection, attention, care, praise… it’s poison and only causes heartbreak and stunts spiritual growth. St. Therese wanted to be completely forgotten in the world. Not a bad path to follow, all for Jesus.


      • John says:

        Kati, the posting with the Litany of Humility really hit the spot.

        Thanks so much!


  5. Anne says:

    Katie …….. Brilliant!!!


  6. Becky-TN says:

    What a beautiful picture. I couldn’t help but look at the little “Jesus” and see Him holding a nail in his hand. Immediately, I thought of the Crucifixion.

    I wonder what it was like for Him, while working with St. Joseph, to daily hold the same materials that would be used to kill Him. The thought never occurred to me before. These objects were, I would assume since He was God and knew He would be crucified, daily reminders of His mission on Earth. LORD, have mercy!!!

    God Bless,



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