Every time the priest said, “Body of Christ,” 2-year-old Joseph, sitting in the pew behind me, proclaimed, “Amen.” Mothers and grandmothers were almost melting in their places as his sweet little voice told the truth that is hidden from the clever and the self-sufficient.
When little Joseph enters the chapel with his mother for weekday Mass, he goes to the front, drops to his knees, and looks at Jesus in the tabernacle for a moment. He then toddles to his seat. After Mass, he and his mother go up to the tabernacle where Joseph says in a chirpy voice that could only belong to a 2-year-old, “Ba-bye, Jesus!” As his mother leads him out of the chapel, he looks back with another “Ba-bye, Jesus.”
Not everyone knows what Joseph knows. Or maybe we are not childlike enough to believe that Jesus means what He says in Luke 22:19: “This is my body.”
Wisdom in small packages
One of my favorite saint stories is of the 5-year-old Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868), who would later found the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Little Peter’s babysitter-sister lost track of him one morning. She looked everywhere she could think of, with no luck. She stopped by the church and there was Peter, snuggled up next to the tabernacle.
“What are you doing up there?” she asked.
“I can hear Him better from here,” he answered.
I don’t think there is such a thing as “blind” faith. These little ones believe for two reasons: because their parents believed and shared the reality of it, and because the young souls experienced something of the love of God in their hearts which, rather than making them “blind,” opened their eyes to the reality of the invisible God. These faith-filled tykes responded not to a “belief,” but to Someone who is really present in the tabernacle.
The toddler that Mary cradles in her arms challenges us to ask ourselves: “How can my faith become more childlike?”
Here are three ways you’re invited to consider:
- Call to mind the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:14: “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
- Ponder the promises of God, which inflame our hearts to want to be His trusting children.
- Indulge in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A famous story has an old man in the back pew of the church, day after day, year after year. The pastor asks him what he does, just sitting back there. The man replies, “I look at Him … and He looks at me.”
Maybe the very old and the very young have a special gift for simple faith. But we in the middle, who tend to complicate things, can remedy that if we show up and let Jesus himself be our guide to a childlike faith that brings us the kingdom of heaven — starting now!
Copyright 2020 Rose Folsom