Monday, January 31, 2011

Becoming Like Children

A Painting of Jesus with Children
by Nicholas Maes
(Optional) Readings for Monday, January 31/ Memorial of St. John Bosco:
Philippians 4:4-9
Psalm 31:20-24
Matthew 18:1-5

Today at the seminary we read the proper readings for St. John Bosco, which are those indicated above. They are different from the ones that are ordinarily read, so if the reflection is totally different from what you read or heard, there is a reason. In the opening passage of this reading from Saint Matthew's gospel today, we hear the story of Jesus calling us to humble ourselves and become like children. As I heard it proclaimed I could not help but think of the book I recently finished reading, The Context of Holiness by Fr. Marc Foley, OCD. In it he reflected on this aspect of being childlike and he made that point that when a child really wants or needs something, they let you know. A hungry child will ask for food. A sleepy child will tell you by their attitude that they are sleepy. It doesn't exactly seem like what we usually call humility, but I think it illustrates the deepest meaning of humility. Humility is nothing other than acknowledging that which is true. In a spiritual sense we remain humble by recalling our nothingness and simultaneously our giftedness and the fact that we are loved so deeply by God. So with children, they recognize the truth of the situation - hunger, tiredness, thirst, etc - and bring it to the attention of those who care for them. As children of God, sons and daughters of the Father, we are invited by the Lord to come before Him and to acknowledge that we are in need of things as well, that we have deficiencies, that we have gifts that are in need of use, and that He is the One who can really bring us fulfillment. He is the one to satisfy all of our needs and desires.