"Now, lest this practice of the Little Way be construed as just one more theory about prayer, let me provide an example from life at Our Lady of Grace Monastery, my monastery here in Beech Grove:
"As I understand the Little Way, it is to be used for little things that have an emotional valence. Here's the sequence: notice the irritation; lift it up; offer it to God's merciful love like Jesus' dying on the cross; offer it with an intention that says, 'Take my suffering so that through your grace the person I'm offering for doesn't have to suffer. Substitute my little emotions (fuel for prayer) and relieve the harm, hurt, or danger from someone else.'
"Here are ten examples from this week:
"1. When air conditioning is set too low and I feel chilled: offer for those suffering from climate disasters. I lift up my emotions around being cold and let those emotions be the prayer. I specifically make the intention for those suffering from flooding because of the storm.
"2. When taking the stairs because the elevator is out of service again: offer the emotions of frustration because I have to climb four flights of stairs. I make an intention so I don't waste suffering: for the sake of my infirmed brother who has had a stroke and now lives in La Paz, Bolivia.
"3. When remembering a duty that I must fulfill instead of making more progress on a given manuscript: I offer the regret of giving away my discretionary time and the frustration of a double workload for the sake of workers who have no discretionary time and have jobs they dislike or are ill-suited to do.
"4. When hearing of a mother's frustration with children who no longer belong to any church: offer my feelings of helplessness and refrain from blame and commentary about our broken church for the sake of those children who need elders, teachings, and guidance.
"5. When hearing a voice in choir off pitch and out of rhythm: offer the dissonance and my feelings of powerlessness and musical discomfort for those who are deaf or blind.
"6. When feeling the harsh tone of political talk: offer the restlessness and disappointment about current leadership and voices of the media for those who have no rule of law in their land.
"7. When sensing the worldliness of my conversation at table: offer my remorse for the sake of those who are leaving the table hungry for some words of encouragement and edification.
"8. When reading my mail and getting a notice on health insurance policy: offer my bewilderment and ignorance for those who suffer alone and are in need of medical attention.
"9. When reading an e-mail about an invitation that I'll decline: offer the crisis of limits for those who are ill and have no one to care for them.
"10. When tempted to arrive late for prayers: offer my quick response to stop working and get to church on time for those who have no church to go to, or no faith in God, or no habit of prayer.
"This list is infinite day by day and week by week. This becomes a way of living. Notice, respond in faith, and offer for the sake of another. This is redemptive suffering. We don't let any drop of blood coming from the side of our Lord to hit the ground.
"There is no feeling too little or no intention too trivial to be left unsaid and to be used as the fuel for prayer and sacrifice. The Little Way is a practice that becomes prayer when made into one's way of life. Prayer is lifting up the heart to God. We can pray for others and actually help others through prayer by offering our sufferings to the redemptive power of Christ Jesus. We can use colloquy, the Jesus Prayer, or the Little Way as practices that become prayer."