“The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.”
“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (Isaiah 11,1)
As a child Jesus enters this world and, before saying a word, speaks to us from the manger in Bethlehem and his years in Nazareth. Later, he invited his followers to become like little children and praised the childlike.
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.” Luke 10
What does he mean by “childlike”? I remember what one of the saints said about this teaching of Jesus. To be a child means to be “free from crippling anxiety, to be forgetful of injuries, to be sociable and to keep wondering at all things.” (Leo the Great)
Think about it. In a nurturing home a child is cared for, fed and clothed, and brought into life in a thousand small ways that say “Don’t be afraid, we love you.”
But we can lose the sense of being cared for as we grow up and assume adult responsibilities. We can become crippled by anxieties as we begin to believe that it’s all up to us; everything depends on me. No one takes care of me.
From infancy to his death, Jesus lived as a child of God, his Father, and knew he was in God’s caring hands. Shouldn’t we follow him? No matter how young or old we are, we reach out in prayer to “Our Father.”
Think about those other qualities of spiritual childhood, “forgetfulness of injuries,” “sociability” “wonder at all things.” They are gifts of childhood. Let’s not lose them.