By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
Some of us…a few of us…remember the day when department stores had various items on different floors. If you were young and vigorous, you would take the staircase; but if you were in need of an assist, there was an invention called: the Elevator.
However, then those machines were not autonomous, there were elevator operators to manage the ups and downs. “Going up” was a vocal invitation to enter the lift. Then as the door was opened on each floor, the operator would announce: “2nd Floor: appliances”, or “Third Floor: sporting goods”; or “Fourth Floor: Toys.”
If there had been an infinite succession of levels, the final one would be: “Last and Final Floor: Eternal Life!”
There, nobody was ever in line to go down!
St. Therese of Lisieux in her book, “The Story of a Soul,” recounts how the newly invented “lifts” of her day were an inspiration to her. She imagined that as rich families had elevators to take them up to the sleeping quarters, avoiding the steep staircase, so too those who search for eternal rest and happiness have a secret way of getting up to Heaven.
The secret was not in a mechanical cage, but rather in the arms of the loving, Good Shepherd. In order to get noticed, she did not have to become bigger and holier and better. Rather the opposite was the case. She needed to become smaller and smaller. Then Jesus would take her in his arms and lift her up to Glory. She called that, her “Little Way”.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame taught us at St. Gregory School in Tyler that method was a great way to be holy. They said to follow that “Little Way” and we would be on the best elevator in the magnificent store of Life. And we would get out on the most beautiful floor ever imagined.
Father Timothy Gollob is a retired priest of the Diocese of Dallas who served for more than 50 years as the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.