Into the Narrow Door

The psychiatrist M. Scott Peck in writing his book “The Road Less Travelled” begins with this simple yet profound thought: life is difficult. He moves on by affirming that “life is a series of problems.. and discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing.”
In his active ministry as a Rabbi, Jesus went through towns and villages teaching and enlightening people. It was in one of such occasion that someone asked him “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” The inquiry was not only for clarification. It was also pragmatic. It was a question of numbers and stats.
Today’s culture is very much influence by statistics. The higher the rating, the better the program, so it seems. Numbers command. The higher one is on the chart, the more influence. Thus more power and following. Charice was thrown into stardom through her YouTube popularity when Oprah Winfrey described her as “the most talented girl in the world.” Suddenly, she found the world at her feet. The same can be said of Justin Bieber. His songs have became instant hits and charted within the top 10 in several countries.
But Jesus was not after quantity. He was more concerned of quality when he replied: Strive to enter through the narrow door!” The icon of the “narrow door” indicates an interior disposition. It points to the basic discipline and detachment that a disciple must have to win life’s battle and to solve life’s problems. The road to glory is not a question of how many reach it but rather how passionate one has to achieve it.
One convincing example I found is that of the Carmelite Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross or simply Edith Stein. Born into a observant Jewish family, she grew up to be a profound philosopher and brilliant writer who had a great influence on the intellectual circles of Germany. As a teen-ager she renounced her faith and became a professed atheist. She was one of the first women to be admitted to the university studies in Germany where she was awarded a doctorate in philosophy Summa Cum Laude at the University of Freiburg. Later she became the assistant and collaborator of Edmund Husserl, the famous founder of phenomenology.
It was during the summer vacation of 1921 when she picked up by chance the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, founder of the Carmelite Order. She read it in one sitting, decided that the Catholic faith was true and bought the next day a catholic catechism. She studied the Catholic faith and asked to be baptized. Eventually she became a leading voice in the Catholic Women’s Movement in her time.
In 1934 Edith Stein entered the Carmelite Convent of Cologne, Germany and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her entrance into the order was preceded by an inspiration during the holy week services that moved her so deeply. Of that experience she would later write: “I told our Lord that I knew it was His cross that was now being placed upon the Jewish people; that most of them did not understand this, but that those who did would have to take it up willingly in the name of all. I would do that. At the end of the service, I was certain that I had been heard. But what this carrying of the cross was to consist in, that I did not yet know.”
She was arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp where she died in the gas chamber on August 9, 1942. Pope John Paul II declared her a saint in 1998. Edith Stein was a brave and generous woman who had the courage to walk into the narrow door. She embraced the faith despite her family’s resistance and she kept it while offering her sufferings for her people.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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