Saturday, August 16, 2008

Today's Gospel for Saturday of the 19th Week in Ordinary Time was a short one. (Matthew 19:13-15).

Children were brought to Jesus that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." After He placed His hands on them, He went away.

On Saturday's, the Church honors the Blessed Virgin Mary with special Mass prayers and devotions. Many Saints have even fasted on Saturday's in honor of Our Lady. I always try to say some special prayers and meditations too. Here is a nice meditation on this Gospel verse and Our Lady by Caryll Houselander, (+ 1954) who was a British mystic and spiritual teacher.

The Kingdom Belongs to Children

Christ's insistence on the power of children is very striking. Almost more than anything else in the Gospel it proves that in God's eyes being something comes before doing something. He sets a little child among His apostles as an example of what He loves. He says that heaven is full of children. Indeed, the Architect of Love has built the door into heaven so low that no one but a small child can pass through it, unless, to get down to a child's little height, he goes in on his knees. How consistent it is with the incredible tenderness of God that His Christ, the Immortal Child, should be conceived by the power of the Spirit in the body of a child. That a child should bear a Child, to redeem the world. Our Lady was at the most fourteen when the angel came to her; perhaps she was younger. The whole world trembled on the word of a child, on a child's consent. To what was she asked to consent? First of all, to the descent of the Holy Spirit, to surrender her littleness to the Infinite Love, and as a result to become the Mother of Christ. It was so tremendous, yet so passive. She was not asked to do anything herself, but to let something be done to her. She was not asked to renounce anything, but to receive an incredible gift. She was not asked to lead a special kind of life, to retire to the temple and live as a nun, to cultivate suitable virtues or claim special privileges. She was simply to remain in the world, to go forward with her marriage to Joseph, to live the life of an artisan's wife, just what she had planned to do when she had no idea that anything out of the ordinary would ever happen to her. It almost seemed as if God's becoming man and being born of a woman were ordinary.
[From 'The Reed of God', Public Domain]

And so I think we need to imitate Mary and all the Saints who have stayed "little," in virtue and humility, living our lives as God wants us to and not what the world wants. I'm almost 72 but I am looking forward to being in heaven as one of God's children. I hope to meet all of you there too! Maybe we can play some children's games together. I know we will love each other as children do!
Deacon John