The Child-Like Pursuit Of Eternal Glory
“For in fire, gold and silver are tested, and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation” ~ Sirach 2:5
Fortitude, courage and an unending trust in God are the topics up for discussion in today’s 1st Reading (Sirach 2:1-11) which can at times read as something of a spiritual pep talk. Sincerity, patience and a steadfast willingness to pursue the spiritual gift of understanding are stressed, and our author asks us to reflect upon three questions in the latter moments of this passage:
Has anyone hoped in the Lord and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
These are great questions for all to reflect upon, for it is in the quiet moments that we can calmly and patiently assess the honest answer to each of them. Are we hopeful, perseverant and prayerful in all that we do?
In today’s Gospel (Mark 9:30-37) Jesus reminds us of the importance of cultivating a child-like faith. While the disciples were discussing who amongst them was the greatest, Jesus was foreshadowing that which would be his path to greatness, the road to Calvary. Greatness viewed through the prism of sacrificial love is a rare virtue in this day and age - in any day and age really - and those who exhibit a child-like faith are often instead viewed as being childish, this despite the fact that they are two entirely different things. Those who lack this all-important child-like faith tend to put human limitations on God, or perhaps they view religion as a crutch for the weak-minded or scared. The power of prayer is generally lost on them. Their’s is a hopeless existence, despair their daily fate, this despite the fact that misery and anxiety is certainly not God’s plan or desire for them or for anyone. Perhaps this is why Jesus presents a child as the perfect model for his disciples.
In another Gospel Passage (Matthew 18:2-4) Jesus goes so far as to say “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Our eternal fate would therefore appear to hinge on our ability to become child-like in our faith.
To go before God as a child is to go before him free of our sins and doubts, full of the wide-eyed inspiration and optimism that comes from total faith. God seeks a child-like submissiveness and meekness and a gleeful heart. Children do not encounter the typical adult hurdles in their pursuit of God.
Childlike faith coupled with child-like love is an open road to God’s heart. Pursue it today; eternity awaits.
“Dear Lord, give me the heart of a child, unsullied and free from shrewdness. A heart that leans on you in weakness, a heart that loves without restriction, a heart that is not jaded or filled with self-adulation. The heart of a child will sail through when you judge.” ~ Edith Ugochi Ohaja