Inspired by the little children in her midst, Carmen Lappe recognizes little acts of faith as a big lesson for all.
Lately, I’ve been drawn to notice the big faith manifested in the little children I’m surrounded by day in and day out. These kiddos may be little, but they have a big lesson to teach us about our faith.
I was reminded of this recently at the first school Mass of the year. As a young girl received Communion, she began skipping back to her place. “Really?” I thought to myself. “Skipping after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist? How immature; how irreverent.”
Thankfully, the Spirit was quick to deliver a reproach! The girl had scarcely returned to her pew when the words of the Gospel that day echoed back into my heart:
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.” (Matthew 18:3-5)
I felt my cheeks burn hot with shame. The eyes of my hardened heart saw irreverence where, in reality, this little girl was personifying the message given to us by Christ. “Whoever humbles himself like this child” ... this little girl at Mass … “is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
A few days later, I took my daughter Gemma with me to deliver some items to a staff member at our local Catholic high school. The perpetual Adoration chapel is located there, and I took the opportunity to show it to her and explain that this is where daddy and I come late Sunday nights to pray.
Her eyes widened with excitement and without hesitation, she dropped to her knees and made the sign of the cross.
I tend to overcomplicate my time in front of Jesus in the Eucharist: what should I pray tonight? How should I pray? Am I even able to pray? Gemma broke it down into one simple, yet profound gesture.
Since that day, I’ve been trying to look at the more difficult moments of everyday life as the greatest opportunities to draw closer to Christ. In particular for my family and the season we find ourselves in, these moments are offered in abundance and, I believe, not by accident. Unfortunately in these moments, the challenge seems insurmountable and too much for the Lord to ask of me.
The anger I struggle with when my children don’t listen to me.
The exhaustion that sets in on Thursday mornings from the chaos of the week.
The disappointment when my husband has to work overtime on yet another Saturday.
You have a list of your own, I’m sure. It is these moments, at least for me, that I find hardest to lay down at the foot of the cross. How can I possibly trust the Lord in the midst of so much exhaustion, frustration, or pain? How can I trust Him when the very vocation He’s called me to has caused me to become someone I never wanted to be? The eyes of my hardened heart complicate the process.
Click to tweet:
I’ve been trying to look at the more difficult moments of everyday life as the greatest opportunities to draw closer to Christ. #catholicmom
It seems far too difficult; far too risky. Except that it’s not, and that’s what I see in my daughter Gemma and that little girl at Mass. Fittingly, a quote from St. Gianna Molla sums this up for us quite well:
The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that he, in his goodness, sends to us day after day.
Happiness is the fruit of our focus. When we are focused on Christ and choose to stay focused on Him, abiding joy will follow. When we choose to offer our most difficult, painful moments to God, abiding and eternal joy will follow in the presence of Christ and all the saints in heaven.
It’s easy to overthink or dwell on our big struggles and how to solve them. Let us look to the little ones in our life and, led by their example, let us offer these little moments by faith, with love, and in hope for a big eternity.
Copyright 2022 Carmen Lappe
About the Author
Carmen is a wife and mother of two in midwestern Iowa. She has a Master of Arts degree in Sacred Theology and has a special passion for writing about the grace of motherhood. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband and exploring breweries and baseball stadiums across the country.