Observing the joy of a small child, Debra Black asks herself, “How long has it been since I have felt this free?”
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. (1 John 3:1)
There is a young mom who attends daily Mass with her two beautiful children. The baby, who before was always in the stroller, is now big enough to wander about on her own. Big enough to wander away from the pew. Big enough, in fact, to wander several pews away to the statue of Our Lady of La Vang, which is surrounded by many tall bouquets of roses and daisies.
My how surprised she was that it wasn’t her mommy picking her up out of her floral jungle but me, a stranger!
Perhaps more humorous is the 2-year-old who takes off with a gleam in his eye, sure he can reach the object of his desire before Mommy can catch him. At this age, he knows he will get into trouble, but that doesn’t matter. Deep down inside he knows he is still loved.
Yes, we do need to teach our children to stay in the pew, for the sake of both reverence to Jesus and their own safety. But we also have lessons to learn from them.
A small child only wanders away because she feels safe in doing so. She knows Mommy or Daddy are always there for her. She even has the "freedom" to be naughty because soon Mommy or Daddy come to correct her. This signifies to the child their love for her. Trusting in their loving presence, the child feels safe and secure.
I ask myself, "How long has it been since I have felt this free?"
We can see the parallels of this to how our Triune God is always present to us. God our Father carries us in His hand as His Spirit guides us, convicting us when we make lesser-good choices. Jesus personally teaches us to be childlike and, if we quit running away from Him, He will lead us through the good times and the bad. We are like charcoal waiting to be transformed into diamonds in this life and into gold in the eternal life. If we invite Him into our struggles, He will transform our soul into a beautiful gem and our disposition to that of a child in love with their Father.
This may be the greatest gift of Lent: the opportunity to become that child again and experience the freedom of a pure heart that loves God.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
Copyright 2023 Debra Black
Images: copyright 2023 Holy Cross Family Ministries, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Debra Black is a spiritual director, perpetual member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, international educator, and businesswoman. Her public service roles have spanned city commissioner, pregnancy clinic board of directors, youth and college ministry, public citizen activism, and homeless street ministry. Her writings can be found at TheFaceOfGraceProject.com, including her latest books, The Life Confession: A Discovery of God’s Mercy and Love and Kick Butt: The Quick Guide to Spiritual Warfare.