Wednesday, March 14, 2007

VATICAN - Prayers for Lent - Acts Faith, Hope, Charity and Sorrow (I)

Vatican City (Fides Service) - “Quasi modo geniti infantes: rationabiles, sine dolo lac concupiscite” (1 Peter 2,2) (“Like new-born babies all your longing should be for milk-the unadulterated spiritual milk-which will help you to grow up to salvation).

This antiphon of the 2nd Sunday of Easter (Introit) refers especially to newly baptised who received the white vestment at Baptism during the Easter Vigil and took it off on following Saturday and were encouraged by the Church to desire spiritual milk in order to grow in the faith. Saint Peter is thinking of what Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God. “'Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'” (Mk 10, 15).

Jesus says his followers must become like a little child. When his disciples wondered who will be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, (Mt 18, 1) Jesus “called a little child to him whom he set among them. Then he said, - 'In truth I tell you, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt 18, 2-4).

He wished to teach them to have faith in the Father as a child has faith in his parents: “'See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven” (Mt 18, 10).

A child is nourished by his mother’s milk. He learns to speak usually in his mother’s tongue. Mother's are usually the ones who teach their children to pray, to pronounce the name of Jesus, to blow a kiss to Jesus, to pronounce the name of Mary, to recite the Hail Mary, the Our Father, the first prayers of their new life in Christ. They grow in body and spirit drawing the energy for physical and spiritual growth from the body and heart of the mother.

(to be continued) (J.M.) (Agenzia Fides 13/3/2007; righe 27, parole 425)