Be Like the Child

Yesterday I went to Mass to pray for a special intention. I don’t go to daily Mass very often, but every time I do, I think to myself I should go to daily Mass more often. It’s so different than the Sunday Mass. Much quieter and informal and, well, more sacred somehow.

Anyhoo, Matthew’s gospel included the story of when the disciples are wondering who is the coolest guy in their group. Jesus calls over a little child (and I couldn’t help but think that nowadays, the kid would go running to his mother crying about stranger danger, but I digress) to illustrate an important point. Jesus tells them that they should all be like children, and that way they will be able to enter his Kingdom. “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” In other words, to be the coolest guy in the group, they have to have the innocence of a child.

The other day I posted about the honesty of children. I’m not saying I’m the coolest gal in the group just because I said the same thing as Jesus, but I am pretty cool. Children — at least children who are reared by parents who are firm and loving and trustworthy — trust their parents and grandparents. In fact, they trust most adults. That’s why they have to be educated about stranger danger. Their trust can get them in trouble with bad guys.

And it made me think about the fact that God is firm and loving and trustworthy. So why don’t we trust him in the same way that most children trust their parents? But maybe I’m too hard on myself because I trusted in him enough to go to Mass and pray for my special intention, knowing he would listen to my plea.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus went on to say, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

Every night of Court’s childhood he recited this prayer before he fell asleep:

Angel of God, my guardian dear
To whom God’s love entrusts me here.
Ever this night, be at my side
To light, to guard, to rule and guide.

By the way, years and years later, Court told me that all those times he said the prayer, he said “To whom God loves and trusts me here.” Frankly, I think I like his version better. Like many of the Catholic prayers that I memorized as a kid, I never really thought about the words. Thank goodness God speaks Kid.

I believe in the existence of angels, and guardian angels in particular. My guardian angel has intervened in my life many times, keeping me safe. I love the notion that the guardian angels of children have God’s attention at all times.

That’s the way it should be. And we should have the innocence of a child, making our own angels’ lives easier.

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