Gospel Reflection for Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023
At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Today is the Memorial of Saint Faustina Kowalska. I think it is striking that today’s Gospel tells us that God has revealed His truths not to the wise and learned, but to the childlike. Saint Faustina, much like Saint Therese of Lisieux who we celebrated just a few days ago, had this quality in common. They were both humble women, with a child-like innocence. Saint Faustina experienced great hardship because she was simply thought to be too unintelligent, ignorant and lowly to receive messages and visions from God. Bernadette Soubirous is another who comes to mind that would fit this category. Even Saint Hildegard von Bingen complained that she lacked the education and intellect to convey God’s messages, although she became one of the most enlightened and insightful women in Chrisitan history.
This childlike humility that God love loves and favors is not restricted to female saints. Many of the greatest male saints have been equally humble and unassuming. Of course, the first that come to mind is Moses, who pleaded with God not to make him a prophet because he was not eloquent and may have had a speech impediment. But, the history of our Church is full of stories of great saints who sought the lowest positions they could find - cooks, gardeners, greeters and ushers, hermits, those who left wealthy families to care for lepers and outcasts, etc., fully embracing humility and service… far too many to begin to list!
For many children, helping others is somewhat of a natural instinct. Of course, a lot depends on how they are raised. A child to whom love is shown and who is taught to be loving and helpful will generally mimic such behavior. For those who are abandoned or abused, have experienced damage in the womb from drug and alcohol abuse, or who are simply raised by unfit parents, learning such compassion can be a struggle. I have known children who displayed sociopathic behaviors at a very young age - both had mothers who abused drugs and alcohol while pregnant. So, while I may be wrong and I certainly do not claim to have phycological insight, I believe that a child, cared for and raised as God intended will be more likely to have this naturally saintly personality at least until they reach the age of rebellion, resentment and temptation. Of course, they have to be taught to share and to be obedient, and not spoiled or selfish. But, this ideal seems to be what our Lord indicates when He references childlikeness in terms of behavior, faith and innocent love.
What a shame it is that most everything in our culture seems intent on destroying such good, childlike qualities! From the destruction of the family to secular indoctrination in schools, to the confusion, darkness, anger, violence, sexual deviancy and drugs that pervade nearly every corner of our media and the internet… and school libraries, all seems designed to lead the little ones astray. Frankly, I’m not going to even try to say anything deeply spiritual or intellectual here. Our culture is sick and evil. The only cure is intact families in which two loving parents actually raise their own children and follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. It does not take a village, nor does it take a government, to raise a child. It takes a family and a Church.
Judson Carroll is the author of several books, including his newest, Confirmation, an Autobiography of Faith. It is Available in paperback on Amazon:
His new podcast is The Uncensored Catholic https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-uncensored-catholic