Reflection: St. Francis

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Gen.2:18-24; Ps.127; 2nd Reading – Heb.2:9-11; Gospel – Mk.10:2-16]

Once again, we are given little children as an example of how our faith should be.  Furthermore, in today’s Gospel, we are also told that we can have access to the Kingdom of God only if we accept it as little children. Does this mean that our conception of God’s Kingdom should be that of a game? Or that it is something to play with?

If we look at children only from this point of view, then, this is what we must conclude. But the approach of children to life, and specifically of “little children”, is more than this. Although play and games are an essential element in a child’s life, these are a means for them to discover the world around themselves – a means of becoming aware of self and of others – a way of creating a relationship with those with whom they feel comfortable or are afraid of – a way of creating confidence or lack of it in others. This confidence is what helps the child to relate with the person near it. Thus said, what can we learn from little children?

1) Little children’s approach to life is the opposite to that of adults. Adults start relationships with the statement: “Give me a reason why I should accept your relationship!” Children start it with the statement: “Give me a reason why I should doubt your relationship!”;

2) Children are not afraid to create a relationship unless they have a negative experience;

3) This leads them to be more open to others;

4) Once they create a relationship of acceptance, they feel comfortable with that person;

5) Furthermore, little children have total abandonment towards that person they feel comfortable with…

These are but a few general considerations of little children’s “wisdom” in approaching life in their first years of existence – a “wisdom” that is conditioned by the habitat they find themselves in. Of course, innocent children (and not only children!) must also be trained about the risks of ill-intended people in modern life: that is why it is better for someone who gives a scandal to one of them, to be thrown in the sea with a millstone around the neck!!!  Whatever their experience might be, little children feel naturally and instinctively safe in the hands of those who love them, who care for them and who show appreciation for what they are!

Once we understand children’s approach to life in its beginning stage, it is therefore easy to understand Jesus’ comments about “our” approach to life and specifically towards the Kingdom of God. We do have positive experiences of God in our life. We do know that God loves us and cares for us. We do feel safe when He is near us (or better still when we are near Him!) Are we ready to abandon ourselves into His hands in the same manner as little children?

“Lord, it seems that growing up helps us to forget many things, especially the relaxed and thoughtless manner with which we approached life when we were taken care of by others. It seems that growing up is a means of forgetting our natural instinct of total abandonment into the arms of loved ones, even though we do remember it for other things. Help us Lord, to be conscious of the little child which is still in us and which remains young, trying to remind us of our abandonment into Your hands! Thank You Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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