The readings and saints Holy Mother Church has provided for the past few days have focused on the importance of being childlike.
Take this from Friday’s Gospel (Matthew 18:1-5):
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
Take this from the Gospel yesterday (Luke 10:21):
At that very moment [Jesus] rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
As I was reflecting on this and a lot of other stuff today during Holy Hour, what I found myself focusing on most was the concept of following.
I think one thing children know how to to best is follow. They know that they don’t know, and they have no problems admitting that fact by following one who does.
One of the primary goals of anyone’s life is to bring others to God. And how difficult this is to do when we are so far away from him that he isn’t even in sight. When we can’t see him, we can’t follow him.
So often, we put ourselves before God. We get buried in, as St. Luke says, our own “wisdom” and our own insight that we look more to ourselves than to him. We aren’t following then. Often among well intentioned folks, people like to put themselves next to God–as if to say, “we’re equal.” You know, like that horrid saying, “Jesus is my homeboy.” True, God is with us as our brother and strengthens us with himself. But he still is before us, and asks us to follow him.
That’s what it means for him to be Lord!
Mother Church has given us so many examples and advocates in helping us to follow him, some of whom we have recently celebrated such as the Little Flower. What better example of this concept than her life?
This message has been made quite clear to me lately. Aside from the Mass readings and the saints Mother Church has given us now, I’ve been reading one chapter of Proverbs according to the day of the month. Chapter 3 has one excellent line, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
And then some lines from the fourth chapter: “Do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth” (Proverbs 4:5). “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil men” (Proverbs 4:14). And: “Let your eyes look directly forwards and your gaze be straight before you” (Proverbs 4:25).
Must keep looking forward, to him who guides us. Must stick on the path, with complete trust. Must be childlike!
And that will bring happiness. The grumpiest people I know are the ones who refuse to follow. Who disagree with passion with various teachings and practices of Mother Church. Who always put their wills first. Who are always fighting.
If we are childlike, and follow, we will be at peace!
On a somewhat related note, I felt like a child again this weekend. A few of us went to Holiday World, where we rode the big roller coasters several times, but also some of the kiddie rides. See my facebook album for photos!