Being led to holiness….by children

0e973783_child-prayingToday we celebrate the feast of St. Claire. We have incense today in honor of my baby niece, whose name is Claire. Please pray for her today. Now her namesake, St. Claire of Assisi, lived in the 12th century and was a disciple of St. Francis.  At a still rather young age, she wanted something to be there for women who wanted to follow Franciscan ideals in religious life. So she wrote a rule of life for her new community, the first woman to ever do so. She led the new sisters faithfully for about 30 years before it as her time to go. When she started, she felt too young to be doing such a thing. Kind of like Joshua in our first reading, who succeeds the 120 year old Moses as leader of the Israelites in bringing them back to the Promised Land. In the Gospel today, Jesus holds up folks even younger than Joshua and Claire as examples for us all and says, be like this child. If you want to enter heaven, be like this child. Wow. It’s a powerful thing to be led to holiness by our children. I’ll never forget the wonderful feeling of being led in prayer by a kindergartner as he led the church in praying a decade or two of the rosary before daily Mass in Bloomington before I entered seminary. Sometimes we hailed Marty instead of Mary, but the Lord understood. And it was beautiful. You all have the lot of now being led by me in the ways of God, still a young baby priest. And I in turn am led in holiness and to our God by the kids over at the school. God leads us to holiness through children. And this surprises us; we expect that the ones with all the answers who should be leading us are the 120 year old Moses. Turns out, a 5 year old usually has more of the right answers. That is God’s way. Think about it. God came to us, not as a 120 year old wise man, but as a baby. In a manger.