By Fr. Roy Cimagala
“I BLESS you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to little children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do.” (Mt 11,25-26)
If we believe in these words of Christ, it should dawn in our mind that we should try our best to be always child-like, even as we age and get exposed to so many things in this world. Imagine! It is to little and simple children that God reveals himself. He hides from those who think they are learned and clever.
Christ repeated this idea a number of times. “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” he also said. (Mt 18,3) “Let the children come to me. Do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mk 10,15)
Yes, children and heaven are almost synonymous to each other. No wonder we feel like we are in heaven every time we see children around. Every time a baby is born, we are very happy because we somehow know that he just did not come out of his mother’s womb, but rather from the very hands of God who created him before the parents procreated him.
In spite of the many limitations of children, what makes them always desirable is their pure, innocent heart, incapable of malice, ambition, pride and haughtiness. They are a source of many other good things.
Their heart is always trusting in the Lord always, just like a little kid is always confident with his father. Faith and hope easily grow and acquire strength when nurtured in a child’s heart. It’s this attitude that leads them to go on and move on no matter what, for life to them could only be an adventure of discoveries.
It’s this kind of heart that makes them transparent, sincere and simple, not afraid to be known as they truly are. They may still lack the subtlety of prudence and discretion, and be prone to spontaneity, but they hardly mind these deficiencies.
They are only interested in doing what they think is good and enjoyable. Suggestions and corrections do not humiliate them. Rather, they welcome these suggestions and corrections.
Children are humble, teachable, flexible and docile. You can tell them anything, and they always tend to believe and obey. Attainments, achievements and successes do not spoil them. Neither do difficulties, temptations and failures crush them and plunge them to sadness or bitterness.
We just have to make sure that to be childlike does not become being childish. A passage from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians can serve as a very relevant reminder to all of us: “Do not become children in sense. But in malice be children, and in sense be perfect.” (14,20)
And more directly, St. Paul said: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Cor 13,11)
Yes, indeed! We have to be childlike in spirit, but not childish in our human ways. As Christ himself said, we have to be innocent like doves, but clever as serpents. With God’s grace, we have to learn to put these seemingly contrasting qualities together.