I was sitting at the dining room table eating and reading my book when I heard my four-year-old daughter making her clacking way down the stairs.  Without looking up, I knew from experience that the clacking came from her plastic, princess, high heel costume-shoes.  I waited to see how she would look when she emerged from the staircase, as she was sure to be bedecked in a creative ensemble of pastel-hued finery from the costume box. 

But then as I continued reading and munching, the clacking footsteps stopped before she entered the room.

I looked up. 

My daughter stood just inside the staircase, holding back from the final step into the room.

The outfit was as I expected, comprised of several different dresses combined together, and stunning in its array of pink and purple ruffles, sparkles and sequins.    

But she stood on the other side of the stairway entrance, looking at me expectantly, waiting.

For what, I had no idea.

“Hi Love,” I said.  “That’s a beautiful outfit.”

“Will you percent me?” she asked.

“Will I what?”  I asked.

“Will you percent me?” she asked again.

I was confused—what was this “percent me?”  Had Disney come out with a new character, maybe ‘CPA Princess’ or ‘Actuarial Tinkerbell,’ the existence of which I was as yet unaware? 

“What do you mean, ‘percent me?’” I asked.

“You know,” my daughter explained, “you say, ‘Percenting The Fairy Princess!’”—and here she flung her arms out wide in a Ta-da! motion to indicate the dramatic gesture that should accompany the announcement—“and then I’ll walk through the door.”

I smiled in appreciation now that I finally understood.  “Of course,” I told her, and dutifully made my announcement:

“Presenting . . . The Fairy Princess!” and I spread my arms wide as I intoned the royal title in my best monster-truck-rally-announcer-voice. 

My daughter nodded her head in refined, aristocratic acknowledgement, smiled demurely and held her hands out daintily at her sides, and took the final step into the room.  Clack! went the plastic high-heels. 

She was happy to have achieved exactly the grand entrance she was hoping for.

The joy of realizing that moment of “percenting” is a good thing to keep in mind as we embark on a new year, as it helps us remember the entrance we all want to successfully achieve one day:  our entrance into the great wedding feast of the king. 

In Matthew 22, Jesus tells the parable of the king who holds a wedding feast for his son, and when the guests are finally assembled in the banquet hall, the king enters.  Jesus said:

“But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.  He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’  But he was reduced to silence.  Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’  Many are invited, but few are chosen.”  Mt 22, 11-14.

In considering this passage, Scott Hahn reflected

“People take great care to dress for success as they prepare themselves for work.  But are we dressing for success in our spiritual life?  We’ve been invited to a banquet in the kingdom of God.  Do we prepare for the banquet by dressing our lives in righteous deeds?”

Father Robert Barron explained further:

“Grace and that initial acceptance of grace is essential, and it comes first . . . but it’s not enough.  We’ve all been invited into God’s household, but then we must live in accord with the rules of that house.  We must dress ourselves appropriately so as to live and act in that house . . . What does the wedding garment stand for therefore?  It stands for a developed moral and spiritual life.  It stand for the renewal of the entire self.”

And that’s what we do right now:  prepare our garment for the wedding feast.  We have received the invitation.  Now is the time to renew ourselves, to develop our moral and spiritual lives, to clothe ourselves in good works, to perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and prepare ourselves for the great “percenting” that awaits us all. 

Copyright 2015, Jake Frost

Photograph By Ronny Siegel (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons