St. Ursula

The importance of the small things

Translated by: Christophorus, Published online: 19 Aug 2008
From: Sunday Lectures (SL), Series "Strength and Life" Vol. 1 - "Behold the Man!", Lecture 8, 3 Aug 1914
First published: Deunov, P. K., "Eto chovekat!", Sila i Jhivot, Pearva Seria, Sofia, 1915
Reference: Deunov, P. K., "Eto chovekat!", Sila i Jhivot, Pearva Seria, Pearvo phototipno izdanie (facsimile edition), Sofia, 1999, Janua-98, ISBN 954-9589-47-1
Available online in Bulgarian from ``Library "Beinsa Douno"'' or from Janua-98.

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their Angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10)

In general, people from both genders have an aspiration for grand things, for great matters; everyone, by virtue of an internal weakness, despises the little things. You are given a nickel [1], you say: "It is worth nothing; if they were a thousand, 10, 100 thousand levs, I [would] understand, but a nickel - I am not a beggar!" They give you a walnut - "You are offending me; if you were to give me 5-10 kg, I [would] understand, but with one walnut, Mister, are you making fun of me?" When we aspire for great matters, we also try to become acquainted with high-ranking people - with kings, prime-ministers, chiefs, scholars, philosophers; about the socially lower-ranking people we say: "He is an ignoramus, a simpleton!" From one end of our life to the other we can see disdain for the little things and a seeking only for grand things. But Christ turns to His disciples and warns them not to despise the little ones. Why? "Do not despise them, because you offend their Angels, who serve them in the Heavens. If you despise these little ones, you despise the Angels, whose children the little ones are". When we want to split a log, we first carve small sharp wedges and they, upon entering, open space for the large wedges. If the wedges are large and blunt, how will they be driven in? So, the little things open the way for the big ones. And in the world the whole process of development unfolds from the very beginning with these little things, which you despise; all the progress of the Universe is due to them. We say that the plough feeds the whole world, that, when the ploughman ploughs the field well and sows it, it brings forth a rich harvest. This is so, but we should not forget the role that those billions of little worms play, which also till the field. Because we are brought up so, to disdain the weak, we, even when we enter Christianity, carry, below the sheepskin, the instincts of the wolf, and see, how at a certain moment from under this innocent garment we expose our claws; we do not forget our old habits: when someone takes away a grosh [2] from us - soon there is a petition to the court. If someone steals 5-10 thousand levs - "Ah, well done!" we tell him. However, one who steals a lot has not acquired this habit all at once; to begin with, he took a nickel from his father, then a dime [3], then - a grosh, five grosh, ten grosh and so on. In every respect this law is true. When we despise the little causes, we miss the great consequences in the matter. I can say that all our current misfortunes, common and personal, are due to this disdain of the little things in the past. And this is why Christ turns to His disciples and tells them not to despise "these little ones". Now, who are "these little ones"? Someone may say: these are our children. It is true that they are our children. But when we come to apply the law of Christ completely, we will see that there are also many other things which should not be despised. "Do not despise these little ones!" - I will explain to you the meaning which is hidden in these words. An (Indian) Hindu gives his son a walnut and bids him to investigate it; the son breaks the walnut and eats it. "What does the walnut contain?" - asked the father afterwards. - "Nothing special - a few kernels, pleasant in taste". The Hindu asks his son again: "Did you not find anything else in the walnut?" - "Nothing". - "Son, a great power is hidden in this walnut and, if you had not eaten it, but had planted it in the ground, a big tree would have grown out of it, and you would see the grandeur of this little thing, which is a germ of a large thing". The Lord sends you a small thought, an apple seed, you say: "It is nothing" and throw it away; but the Lord says: "Ask what power it contains, plant it, and you will see what [kind of] a tree will grow out of it". Precisely because of this constant disdain of the little thoughts, we have come to this state, and say that the world is bad. We are the cleverest!

Christ says: "Do not despise these little things, do not aspire to the big ones, learn to recognize what power hides in the little things and make use of them: they will help you to acquire the big ones". Is not your house built wholly out of little microscopic grains, condensed. Upon these little things, like the grain of wheat, the fruits and other trifles, rests our everyday life. This is in relation to the body; but in relation to the mind exactly the little thoughts and desires cause joy and gladness in life. Sometimes we laugh at the children, that they are engaged with trifling {drebni} thoughts; not the thoughts, but the grains, which assist the development of the big things, are tiny {drebni}.

And why should we not despise these little ones; why should we not trespass the second Divine commandment: "to love our neighbors"? Every living being, which has a relation to someone, which gives benefit, we should not despise. This creature may be a dove, a hen, a sheep, an ox, a horse, a donkey, for each of them there is a book, in which it is being written: today you have loaded your donkey with so much, tomorrow with so much - it is written there, and when the Lord calculates for it [(the creature)] 5 lev a day, in 100 years - if we say that it has served you all your life - what capital will you have to [re]pay it? One day you will find out, like that debtor, that you owe the creature 10 thousand talents. You will say: "I do not remember"; but the Lord has noted in the book that you owe this much. So, we all owe these little ones. Our current development, our current thoughts, our current desires we owe to these little ones, of which Christ speaks, and, therefore, as we owe them, we should have love towards them, to know, that they have worked for us and that we now should work for them. And in passing I will tell you something about a riddle. I have often been asked: why are the Angels interested in people, what do they have in common with them. Once upon a time, when the Angels were in our [current] state, as people on Earth, we were in the position of animals and we served the Angels; they owe us much, and now the Lord compels them to repay us. Likewise, the great Angels do not despise their smaller brothers, because the latter have worked for them. You may have a servant who is ignorant, but you do not know the relations of this servant towards you, [the reason] why the Lord has brought him in your home. Your connection with him is not from now; this servant has been in your home many times; you do not know, but the Lord knows; he, perhaps, has saved your life from destruction many times; therefore, you should have all the love and leniency towards him. And then we come to understand this great Divine Law - to have love towards the smaller ones. Love is not for the great people, for the Angels, for the saints, She is for the little, the tiny, the poor, the fallen brethren. This is why such strong love is developed in the mother toward her child; she loves it according to this Divine Law, that she should love it. She loves it like that according to an internal fire, because the Lord has entered the child incognito. You wish to see the Lord, but when He comes in this child, you say: "Why, Lord, have you given me this child?" Every day you call to the Lord and every day you drive Him away. And you pass for clever people! Such a behavior is held not only by you, but by the whole world. The Lord tries your mind every day to see how much you love Him and how much you speak the truth. Once upon a time, when the world declined, it spread that the Lord [has] set out through the world [4], to see how people live, and the latter said: "Now there is no Lord in Heaven, there is no one to control us, we will live more freely". In one place, the Lord saw that someone is selling a blind horse and that he says to the buyer: "Have faith in God, the horse is not blind". - "If you swear in God, I will believe" and [he] buys the horse. The Lord passes by a house and sees a man [5] lambasting his wife [5]: "For the Lord's sake - forgive!"; he forgives her. Those two then appear in Heaven and say: "On the Earth we, Lord, preached Your Name". So also, contemporary people call upon the Lord, when they want to sell a blind horse or want to beat their wife. The priests say: "Have faith in the Lord"; but what will the Lord say to them? "I do not know you, because you used My Name not for My glory, but to lie to the people, so that they may commit certain crimes and cover them". Precisely these little things create the misfortunes. You have a blind horse, you wish to sell it in God's Name, but watch and keep account of what you do. Do you know who this blind horse is? This is your body. And people always talk against it and always punish it; everyone says that it is faulty. It is not the body that is at fault. Someone got drunk in the pub and said: "Do not feed my horse"; he errs, but [he] punishes the horse. Do not despise the body and do not mix the flesh with your desires, with your lusts. It is them that you have to renounce, not the flesh, because it would mean to renounce all thoughts and deeds, which happen through the flesh. And you should not torture your body - this temple, which the Lord has created. Therefore, you should be very lenient towards your body, because, while it is healthy, you are able to work.

Now, Christ, when He says "their Angels", He means those clever beings, which take account of our actions. That which we call "conscience", are the Angels who live within us and who note our every action, good or bad, and who say: "You did well" or "you did badly". You offend someone, his Angel tells you: "Your action is not right". You start apologizing yourself: "Please excuse me, I was a bit nervous, ill-disposed, such are the conditions". That you are in such a state, this has nothing to do with the rule, that you should not despise these little ones, upon which the Divine laws rest.

These little things sometimes cause great benefits or great harms. A wolf [once] related that he was a hero and that among the animals he was a king; the fox told him: "Do not boast so much, because if a mosquito goes into your nose, it will sting you and you cannot do anything to it". "When I blow with my nose, it will fly out", the wolf answered. One day a mosquito went in his nose, stung him, introduced a disease, and the wolf died. And in our life the little causes, in one respect or another, can often aid our development, but can also make us stumble. The causes, which make us good and bad, are not in themselves bad; it is their application which is bad. Take for example the air: if you place it in your lungs, it will purify the blood and the man will feel pleased with this purification; but if you place it in the stomach, it will cause stomach-aches - one and the same thing in both cases produces two quite opposite effects. If you decide to introduce in the stomach some coal in a dissolved state, it will cause pleasantness, but, if you place it in the lungs, it will poison you. Therefore, by these little things, of which Christ speaks that we should not despise, He understands the whole-united human life, with which we are closely connected. For example, if I were to ask you: can you say how your body, your heart, your mind were formed, can you say how these things occurred? In the beginning man, when he appeared on Earth, was not gigantic, but microscopic, but under certain conditions he developed and became a man, who is now a million times more grandiose than he was [before]. His strength was initially hidden as a germ.

Thus also in our modern-day life, thought contains a great Divine foundation, and, if it falls on good soil, it can revive our life. This, which we call "revival", exists as a law of the Spirit. It is that internal Divine process, which elevates and renews the human heart, the human mind, the human soul, the human spirit. This is a process of ascension from below upwards. And in this Divine aspiration our upliftment, redemption and salvation are elaborated. This is why all beings from the greatest to the smallest aspire to renew themselves, to uplift themselves, and in youth the blossoming of the human soul is hidden.

When we say, that we have to be lenient towards the little ones, this originates from the principle to not embitter the Lord, because when we embitter a man, we do not embitter him individually, but the Lord Who is within him. Thus also, when we do [something] good, we aid the Lord. When we help someone, his Angel, too, who is in Heaven, will be at our service. Therefore, if we wish to have friends in Heaven, we have to serve the little ones, and their fathers, the Angels in Heaven, will accept us in their home and will hospitably-host us, we will feel ourselves at home. A favor for a favor, love for love - this is how the world is.

Now, do you know why Christ addressed His disciples with this thought? The [state of] disdain - this state you must expel from your soul. For example, you meet a man who you do not know; contempt arises in you that he, perhaps, stands lower than you; if you merely establish ignorance and help him, then it is different, but, if you despise him, you introduce poison. From the disdain the contemporary aristocratism has been born, the castes - some noble, others ignoble, some rich, others poor. If we understand the relations of things, we will see that we should not be ashamed of poverty, because it is a service, given to us to carry: we have to be little, we have to be poor, in order to become rich. These are two opposite poles, between which undoubtedly lies the development. And the movement is always from the greater to the smaller, that is, the Lord always strives towards the tiny ones, He is not occupied with great works. He has made the world, but the ruling of the whole world does not give Him as much pleasure as when He is occupied with children. His task is, when He sees the people, that they err, to teach them, and by this He gives us an example also, not to despise the little ones, but to tolerate them and to instruct them - this is our rest. When the teacher is occupied with his students, this gives him pleasure, and he commends the students when they learn. The saints, the priests are occupied with the sinners, so as to turn them to the Lord. And the task of all of us is to turn our eye towards the weak people and towards the tiny things. When someone says: "I cannot take a rest", I understand that he is occupied with great deeds, with great thoughts. How will he take a rest, if he puts upon his back a heavy for his strength rucksack- of 10, 20, 50 kilograms of gold? When he leaves in his rucksack only one napoleon [6], he will see that he will find rest. And now the Lord is coming to say: "Lay down the rucksacks!" - to liberate the world from them; lay down the weapons which destroy your minds and your hearts, you all have to become like children: to not despise the little things, which I have created. The Lord wishes to return people to that pure primary state, which people call becoming-savage {poDIViavane}, but which in actuality is not becoming savage. I desire people to become savage in this way. "Div" in Sanskrit means "pure". Let us become pure and come nearer to God, instead of growing rough and becoming evil. I would wish the whole world to become savage a-day-sooner, to become pure, noble, to not despise the little things which God loves, and to place love, righteousness, wisdom, truth and strength on that height, upon which they should stand. That is where salvation is.

Lecture given on 3rd August 1914, Sofia


[1] petache - is a coin equaling 2.5/100 of a lev
[2] grosh - a coin equaling 20/100 of a lev, or 20 stotinki. The name comes from the Turkish coins and originates from Latin (denario grosso).
[3] gologan, a coin equaling 10/100 of a lev, or 10 stotinki. The name comes from the denomination used in the Turkey
[4] literally: Earth
[5] In Bulgarian, there is a single word for "husband", "male" and "man", and similarly for "wife", "female" and "woman"
[6] a golden coin of 20 lev, following the model of the gold 20-franc coin created in 1803
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