Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.

“How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.” - Mother Teresa

Gospel Text: (LK 10:21-24)
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.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the So
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

The apostles were constantly trying to jockey for the choicest cabinet secretariats in what they anticipated would be an earthly messianic reign. And they would do so at the most inhumanly brutal times, like immediately after Jesus had foretold his approaching sufferings.

Jesus, however, didn't crush their desire for greatness, but redirected it. He didn't want them competing for seats at table or fancy titles, but for a towel to wash others feet. He wanted them to be ambitious not for self-aggrandizement, for what St. James called "selfish ambition," but for bringing about the kingdom. He wanted them to be ambitious for the virtues of the kingdom.

To become like little children means to return to our true dependence on the Father and begin to allow him to continue to raise us to become perfected as he himself is perfect.

Back in 1997, the Church proclaimed as a doctor of the Church St. Therese Lisieux because she was precisely an expert in the way to grow in spiritual childhood. That way begins, she said, with grounding oneself in who the Father is, how much he loves us, and responding with love and trust as a child does to his or her parent. John Paul II said in 1997 about Therese, "The way she took to reach this ideal of life is not that of the great undertakings reserved for the few, but on the contrary, a way within everyone's reach, the "little way," a path of trust and total self-abandonment to the Lord's grace. It is not a prosaic way, as if it were less demanding. It is in fact a demanding reality, as the Gospel always is. But it is a way in which one is imbued with a sense of trusting abandonment to divine mercy, which makes even the most rigorous spiritual commitment light."

Her ambition was simply to please God in the little things of every day. She wrote, "If you want to be a saint, it will be easy ... you have but one goal: to give pleasure to Jesus."

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