Servants sent by the Father


The law of Christ may only be lived by people who are gentle and humble of heart.

Saint André Bessette, C.S.C.

It is this gentleness and humility which are the characteristics of Jesus Christ in his filial love for God and his fraternal love for human beings.

Whatever their personal gifts, Christians are small people. Small people, whatever their place in society, their job, their possessions, their class, their race, whatever the development and power of the human sciences, whatever the discoveries concerning the prodigious evolution of the human race and its history — in spite of all this, Christians remain people who are small.

Small in God's presence because God created them and they depend on him.  Whatever the journeys that mark their lives and their fortunes, they came from God and they are going to God.

They are gentle like weak, loving children, close to their Father who is strong and loving.

They are small because they know that they are in God's presence and they know only a few things, can do only a few things, and are limited in their love and in their knowledge.

They do not argue about the will of God in the events that happen, nor do they argue about what Christ has commanded them to do, so that in these events they may themselves, for their part, do the will of God.  They are gentle like the trusted and active performers of a work, the enormousness of which is hidden from them, while yet they know their own particular task.




Madeleine Delbrêl "Servants sent by the Father." from The Joy of Believing, Ralph Wright, Trs. 1993. (Sherbrooke, QC: Mediaspaul, 1993).

This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in March 2014.


Madeleine Delbrêl (1904–1964) was a French Catholic author, poet, and mystic, whose works include The Marxist City as Mission Territory (1957), The Contemporary Forms of Atheism (1962), and the posthumous publications We, the Ordinary People of the Streets (1966) and The Joy of Believing (1968).  She came to the Catholic faith after a youth spent as a strict atheist.  She has been cited by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray as an example for young people to follow in "the arduous battle of holiness."

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