Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Fearless Surrender of a Little Child

Jesus, I trust in you!

Children are usually told to watch and learn from adults. Adults like us are always presented to them as models who they should imitate. But the mind of the Lord is different. He tells us: “Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” Those who aspire to enter heaven must watch and learn from children. They are the models who we should all imitate if we want to be part of his Kingdom.

The Lord puts the little child in our midst today…the little child who oftentimes is relegated to the side because he has done nothing yet to prove his worth. The child has not proven his worth because he does not yet earn his keep nor has he achieved anything to assure him of his niche in society. And yet, when asked: “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven,” the Lord puts the child in the midst of his disciples and tells them: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

In this way, he reveals to us his glory…for who is greater than Him who is the Lord? Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. To him, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given by the Father. And yet, in entering this world, he humbled himself and became a little child. He diminished himself. He made himself small, because in the Kingdom of God, littleness is the measure of greatness. Even Philosophy affirms this: God is the simplest of all beings. In the image of the Sto. Niño, we see the true glory of Christ: it is the glory of God’s only Son, full of grace and truth. Indeed, what the world deems important (like power and wealth) is nothing in the sight of God. A person’s true greatness is measured by his simplicity and child-like trust in the Lord.
St. Therese of the Child Jesus teaches us the doctrine of spiritual childhood. She wrote: “I understand so well that it is only love which makes us acceptable to God that this love is the only good I ambition. Jesus deigned to show me the road that leads to the Divine Furnace, and this road is the surrender of the little child who sleeps without fear in its Father’s arms. ‘Whoever is a little one, let him come to me.’ So speaks the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Solomon. This same Spirit of Love says: ‘For to him that is little, mercy will be shown.’ The prophet Isaiah reveals in his name that on the last day: ‘God will feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather together the lambs with his arm, and shall take them up in his bosom.’“ (Story of a Soul, 188.)

“The surrender of the little child who sleeps in its Father’s arms” is the oblation that pleases the Father. This surrender is the way of trust that the Lord is asking us to offer to him. Self-sufficiency brings us nowhere. We need the Father and we should never hesitate to ask for his love. With confidence, we should approach him for “there is no detail of my life that is too tiny for his concern.” As Jesus became a little child in order to enter our world, so we should become like little children in order to enter heaven. Let us confidently walk this way of spiritual childhood – the way of unconditional surrender and trust in the Lord. He does not need anything from us except our love. Let us give him this love as this is all the Father wants from us. Let us ask the Santo Niño: “O Son of God, who for my sake took on the dependency of childhood, help me to accept the readiness of the Father’s grace.”

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!  

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