By Deacon Tom Gryzbek
St. Andrew the Apostle
(Reflection for week of September 13, 2020)
The noun "rumination" means "a deep considered thought about something.
Last week, my wife Marilyn and I babysat our two grandchildren, Jane, age three, and Abby, age one, from Tuesday through Saturday. It was a tiring, but delightful time that went by quickly,
I thought often about the joy these two children have in the little things in life and the heartfelt happiness they have given their grandparents in something as simple as a smile, or as profound as an expression of the need for something easily satisfied without much effort.
Marilyn did a terrific job keeping things from becoming a chaotic mess, joined by our adult child Mary, who came each day to help. I also assisted where and when I could. As we were taking care of these two little ones, I thought often about the Scripture passage, "The kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Luke 18:16) Said another way, ". . . Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
I like what the Catholic Daily Reflection website stated about this on August 11:
"How do we become like children? What is the definition of being childlike? Here are a few synonyms that most likely apply to Jesus' definition of becoming like children: trusting, dependent, natural, spontaneous, awe-inspired, and innocent.
"Trusting - Children trust their parents without question. They may not always want to obey, but there is very little reason for children to lack trust that a parent will provide and care for them.
"Natural - Children are often free to be who they are.
They are not overly concerned about looking silly or being embarrassed. They will often naturally and
spontaneously be who they are and not worry about the opinions of others.
"Innocent - Children are not skewed or cynical. They do not look at others and presume the worst. Rather, they will often see others as good.
"Awe-inspired - children are often fascinated by new things. They see a lake, a mountain, or a new toy and are amazed at this first encounter.
"All of these qualities can easily be applied to our relationship with God. We must trust God to care for us in all things. We must strive to be natural and free, expressing our love without fear, not worrying if it will be accepted or rejected. We must strive to be innocent in the way we see others, not giving into prejudice and bias. we must strive to be continually in awe of God and of all the things he does in our lives."
I would add one more synonym to what was listed above -"grateful." I remember one occasion last week when I changed the one-year-old's diaper after a nap.
I wrote this note to my son and daughter-in-law after that experience: "I love your children dearly, as well as both of you, but . . . I just changed Abby's diaper after her nap . . and . . .well . . .there were things in the diaper that reminded me of a science fiction movie. I pray I will recover. I may need a couple of sessions with Joe (my son, who is a psychologist). And there was Abby, giggling through it all. Oh the humanity of it all!"
Jesus is always there helping wipe clean our missteps in life in the confessional, relieving us from guilt and embarrassment, bringing us the comfort and joy of a new beginning. We need to be grateful for the fact he loves us that much and helps us each and every time, despite whatever misstep we might make.
We can learn a lot from children. May God give us this grace.