The Little Mandate
The core of Catherine Doherty's spirituality is summarized in a "distillation" of the Gospel which she called "The Little Mandate" — words which she believed she received from Jesus Christ and which guided her life. It reads:
Arise — go! Sell all you possess. Give it directly, personally to the poor. Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me, going to the poor, being poor, being one with them, one with Me. Little — be always little! Be simple, poor, childlike. Preach the Gospel with your life — without compromise! Listen to the Spirit. He will lead you. Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me. Love... love... love, never counting the cost. Go into the marketplace and stay with Me. Pray, fast. Pray always, fast. Be hidden. Be a light to your neighbour's feet. Go without fear into the depth of men's hearts. I shall be with you. Pray always. I will be your rest.
The spirituality expressed in The Little Mandate is also known as "the Madonna House way of life."
The duty of the moment
A central theme in Catherine Doherty's spirituality is the duty of the moment. As she herself put it:
"The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. You may not have Christ in a homeless person at your door, but you may have a little child. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don't just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and that child.... There are all kinds of good Catholic things you can do, but whatever they are, you have to realize that there is always the duty of the moment to be done. And it must be done, because the duty of the moment is the duty of God."
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