SAN ANTONIO – What are little epiphanies? According to Susan Muto, PhD, executive director of the Epiphany Academy of Formative Spirituality and keynote speaker at the Annual Prayer Brunch Benefiting Pilgrim Center of Hope, little epiphanies are, “Little nothings of every day hope,” and the “ordinary ways to sanctity.”
On Saturday, October 28th, Pilgrim Center of Hope welcomed Dr. Muto to their annual fundraiser after discovering many similarities between the mission of Pilgrim Center of Hope and the Epiphany Academy of Formative Spirituality located in Pittsburgh, PA.
Mary Jane Fox, co-founder of Pilgrim Center of Hope explains, “Our staff was reading Dr. Muto’s book, Twelve Little Ways to Transform Your Heart: Lessons in Holiness and Evangelization from St. Therese of Lisieux in the catechesis portion of our weekly staff meetings. To our delight we discovered the lessons stated in her book wove perfectly into our ministry’s mission of guiding people to God and His Church. We strive to be missionary disciples reminding people that trusting in God provides hope in all the circumstances of our lives. Dr. Muto’s book so richly explains this Truth and we are blessed to have her share her wisdom of formative reading of Scripture and the Spiritual Masters at our Prayer Brunch.”
In her presentation, Dr. Muto expanded on four of the ‘Little Ways’ listed in her book: 1. Little Way of Hiddenness, 2. Little Way of Abandonment to Divine Providence, 3. Little Way of Simplicity and 4. Little Way of Unceasing, World-Redeeming Prayer.
Dr. Muto said, “That the majority of us will never be famous, in the news or on any headline, so it is in the hiddenness of life we are to seek our sanctity.” She calls it the, “Nazareth of Everydayness” and the many opportunities each day to be with Jesus, Mary and Joseph and live in hope. Muto said hiddenness is where we can count on the grace of our baptism to give us the hope we need to love our spouses, raise our children, cling to our faith and never give up.
The Little Way of Abandonment to Providence is where Dr. Muto says we are to let go of our plans in life and surrender in trust to God’s providence. She quipped, “We control nothing except our remote controls.” She said that St. Therese reconciled her burning desire to be a missionary with the reality of life in the cloister and in growing illness by cultivating a spirituality that, “surrenders like a little child in her Father’s arms,” trusting He would never give a desire He would not fulfill. Muto said we can practice living in this hope by consciously turning our plans over to God like, “twigs into a fire,” saying we will witness the, “flames of trust grow higher with each twig of surrender.”
Dr. Muto said the Little Way of Simplicity is how we maintain order in a world that is full of complications. She said we can act in simplicity by defying our, “culture of the lie,” and living, “without guile; which means we say what we mean and mean what we say, and that our yes should mean yes and our no should mean no.” Muto explained forgiveness is the key to living in simplicity, and though sin complicates our lives, we can find hope in understanding that, “God gazes at us always, slicing through the layers of sin and seeing directly into our souls.”
The Little Way of Unceasing World Redeeming Prayer is how Dr. Muto said we can plug into God’s plan for salvation by choosing as St. Therese did to, “Read the text of daily life,” through an acceptance and offering of our little annoyances and big struggles. Muto shared several stories demonstrating how St. Therese took every opportunity to engage in the, “Serious business of prayer by hesitating before reacting, asking for grace and trusting God that what He has called us to, will be disclosed to us.”
Dr. Muto ended her presentation with a prayer of St. Therese, and thanked God for Pilgrim Center of Hope and the blessing of their respective ministries.
Dr. Susan Muto has been invited to also speak at Pilgrim Center of Hope’s, Catholic Seniors’ Conference to be held February 24, 2018 at St. Matthew’s Parish McDonald Center.