“Morally, if anyone desires to attain unto the glory of eternity, he must first study to be a child–to be pure in three things. Firstly, in the heart…secondly, in the mouth…thirdly, in deed.” –From “Sermon in a Sentence: A Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life; Vol. 5: St. Thomas Aquinas,” pg. 89. Selected and Arranged by John P. McClernon.
I personally love the idea of becoming a little child again. They exude innocence and carefree bliss. They go to school and learn, wide-eyed with wonder, at the feet of their teachers, who seem to possess a kind of almost-magical wisdom. They come home and feel safe in their homes and in the arms of their parents, never fearing storms or floods, trusting completely in their parents’ guidance and guardianship. But possibly the most striking thing of all is the honesty and purity of a child’s heart, words and actions.
Children are known for telling the truth, sometimes in humorous and in painful ways. They are honest; their hearts are pure because they have nothing to hide. We also should seek after this kind of purity in our hearts, always confessing our sins as soon as possible; in the meantime we should run to God and kneel at His feet whenever we should fall and confess our wrong, hiding nothing from our Heavenly Father, that we may not have cause to hide anything from man.
In our speech also we should examine the little child and take note of how pure and honest his words are. He never thinks to conceal the truth and never fears how his words may be perceived. Yes, we are adults now, and we can foresee in many circumstances how our words will affect others. But should that deter us from speaking truth when it is called for? Absolutely not. In those occasions we must look to God as our judge, and think how disappointed He would be if we did not tell the truth, as a child who seeks to please his father will think on him and be sad to think of hurting him.
In our actions as well, we should display and reflect the purity of our words and our heart, for actions prove the man among his fellow men. As children, our actions always reflected what our words and hearts held. If our heart was turned to our mother or father, we might come to them, say “I love you,” and embrace them with our arms, and thereafter seek to avoid those actions which got us into trouble and displeased our parents, and seek after the actions which they approved of. But if the child should go off to school and misbehave among his fellow students, how sad would the parents be to hear of it? Although the child did not directly disobey his parents, he has disobeyed the authority that his parents placed over him–and that is still disobedience, and still highly displeasing to them. So it is and so it should be with us and our Heavenly Father. We should not put up a front before God and then leave His presence to disobey His commands among our fellow men. No; we should always strive to keep His commands and prove our heartfelt and confessed love for Him by our deeds.
Let us pray throughout the remainder of this Lenten season for a pure, filial devotion to and adoration of God, our Heavenly Father, who gives to His pious children, His pure of heart, the glory of eternity, of which we receive a foretaste and foresight in the glorious resurrection of His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.
“Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3, DRA).