The chick or the eagle?


Without ambitious people the world would never get up. They are busybodies who are about early in the morning, hammering, shouting, and rattling the fire-irons, and rendering it generally impossible for the rest of the house to remain in bed.

Idle Thoughts From an Idle Fellow, Jerome Klapka Jerome

I love this quote because it is really true. Usually I am content simply to admire the ambitious people in my life. But every once in awhile, they go and light a fire under my boiler and compel me to go and do something, that I wouldn’t have been inclined to do otherwise; and generally I am very glad that they did.

One of the saints who seems to me to typify this spirit of ambition is St. Josemaria Escriva. However, sometimes his “Way” seems to be in conflict with the “Little Way” of another saint I admire, St. Therese of Lisieux.

Some time back, after thinking about this for some days, I accosted Michael at his computer.

     “Which is it supposed to be, then?” I asked. “Am I supposed to rest like a child in the arms of my loving Father, or am I supposed to soar like an eagle rather than flap like a barnyard fowl?”

     “Well,” he said mildly, looking up. “It’s both. You know that.”

Bless them – my husband and the Church, and their hard sayings and paradoxes.

This Lent I plan to read The Way, The Furrow, and The Forge and Story of a Soul back to back, and see if I get any light on the subject.

2 thoughts on “The chick or the eagle?

  1. (Julie) Post author

    I have exactly the same conflict. Thank you for clarifying it. I actually got a portrait started the other day because of a gentle kick which I deliberately solicited from a Sister. “Please!! encourage me to do what I fear to do!” Perhaps our Jose Maria and our little Therese are kickers and fire-lighters of two different types, made especially by the Lord for such as need kicking and fire-lighting. Those who, in other words, truly lack ambition. Our unambitious Therese had to be ordered to write her Story, in the silence and anonymity of the Covent. And I think, from the tone of the writing, she actually started to enjoy the process once she got going, and was able to leave the outcome to Providence, without inner conflict. Blessed state!!

  2. Maria Post author

    It’s interesting what you say about St. Therese. I’ll be reading her autobiography for the third time, and still in some ways she is a great mystery to me.


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