By Corrinne May
“Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 10:14
I often recount these words of Jesus, especially now during Lent, during this season of preparation, during this season of getting away from the extraneous. For to be a little child is to live on the essentials and to know and be joyful that we are accorded close to nothing in the eyes of the world.
I believe that Jesus spoke not so much of the physical littleness of the child, but of the humility of the child and the total dependence the child has on others. He spoke about the joy that children have because their cup is little and easily filled to overflowing with the Joy that Jesus brings.
I saw this Joy recently in my daughter Claire’s eyes, as she happily sang the song “Seek Ye first” after a weekend retreat in church.
As a catechist, I also see this Joy often in the eyes of the little 3- to 6-year-olds who partake in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) at St. Ignatius. I love seeing their little faces gleam as they dwell in the knowledge that Jesus loves them. In this Montessori-inspired approach to spiritual formation, there is the recognition that God often uses the smallest, most humble instruments for His greatest mysteries and gifts. I believe that the greatest example of this is the Eucharist; such a small, plain, humble circle of bread, yet it is God in all His fullness and mystery.
What does this mean for you and I? It means that we need to become child-like in our dependence on Him, in recognising that we are nothing but for Him. As the celebration of Ash Wednesday so poignantly reminds us, we are little more than dust and ashes. Everything we have is from Him. All our joys, our blessings, our crosses. All from Him.
How do we respond to the Lenten call to “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord”?
I believe that it starts by de-cluttering our hearts. Just as the Lord chose to be born in that humble manger so long ago, we need to make the room of our hearts bare-bones just like that humble manger. No distractions, no gold or finery, no fancy gilded walls, no pride. Just an emptying and surrendering of ourselves, so that He can completely fill us.
When I search for the ultimate example of that emptying of self, I look to Jesus, hanging on the crucifix, His heart pouring out His Blood and Water. His entire Life; poured out for us.
How do we do the same for Him this Lent? How do we empty all that noise from our hearts so that like Elijah, we can recognise His still, small voice in the gentle wind?
Oh Jesus, make us smaller, more and more each day, so that by and by, you will be the Biggest part of our hearts.