Austin Ruse discusses his new book, “Littlest Suffering Souls” and the lessons learned from these children’s remarkable lives.
It is said that children learn what they live. But children also teach the adults in their lives lessons on subjects such as unconditional love, self-sacrifice, self-forgetfulness, patience and more. The ordinary way an adult learns these things from his or her children is by caring for them.
Every parent knows that. But some extraordinary children seem sent by God to teach us about the “big questions” such as life, death, suffering, and the existence of God. The children in this book, all of whom suffered terribly during their short lives, bore witness to God’s love and an understanding of the meaning of suffering and “what to do with it” that belied their years. And their teaching was not limited to their immediate family: Everyone with whom they came into contact, from doctors and nurses, to major political figures and popes to family friends and other children, was profoundly affected by the encounter.
This book will make you cry, yes, but the tears will be mixed with something akin to joy at the beauty of the short lives of Brendan, Margaret, and Audrey, and awe at the grace and dignity with which they bore their crosses, lived and enjoyed this life, and ultimately left it to be with the God they all loved. In this time in which there is so much despair and sadness, and in this world in which we are so frequently reminded that it can truly be a “vale of tears,” let the Littlest Suffering Souls remind you that this present life is not all there is; let the Littlest Suffering Souls point you to heaven and to Christ.
About the Author
Austin Ruse is president of C-Fam, a New York and Washington DC-based research institute working exclusively on international life and family issues. Austin has traveled around the world to lecture on UN matters. He was a founding columnist at TheCatholicThing.com and is currently a bi-weekly columnist at Crisis Magazine. He is a Knight of Magistral Grace in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and a Knight in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher. Austin lives with his wife Cathy and daughters Lucy and Gianna-Marie in Fairfax County, Virginia, where his ancestors settled from England before the Revolutionary War.