This is a blog that I post to several times a week although not necessarily daily. These reflections are triggered by the scripture found in the lectionary used by many Christian denominations. While I am part of the Catholic tradition, these posts are not --or rarely--sectarian. I try to put myself in the space of a of Jesus Christ and listen to words that come to me as I read and pray the scriptures. Each post also includes a photograph. These rarely have any connection to the content of the post but are simply pleasing images that I capture as I make my pilgrimage through life.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Little Children

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
"Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.
Mt 19:13-15

I was not at St. Mary's last Sunday since I was traveling, but I heard that the homily somehow included at least three references to God the Father's desire that we be obedient children. I don't know if this text was referenced but it well could have been.

Admittedly it is easy to get to "obedient children" from this and similar scriptures passages but that may reflect a fundamental patriarchal mind set rather than a clear headed notion of what Jesus is saying. From the perspective of a parent, one might well think that ideal children are obedient children but this seems a rather lifeless value for the Son of Man to be proclaiming.

I think it more likely and more consistent to focus on a characteristic of children that is more natural: openness to life. After all, to a child the world is new place filled with people and things experienced for the first time. Children have a natural openness, a natural learning stance toward the world. For us to be as children means that we are able to put aside all the ego-based structures, filters, and needs that prevent us from seeing the world as it is and thus be able to truly and fully be present to reality. As Anthony DeMello wrote, the whole task of the spiritual life is simply to wake up!

Children are naturally awake to the world around them. Jesus is saying that if we too are awake to the world as it fundamentally is, we will enter into the Reign of God. Obedience is a pale and faded compromise that only seems life-giving to those in authority.

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Location:Charissa Run,Rochester,United States

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