Our God is a God of the unexpected. Throughout the Gospels we find Jesus speaking and acting in counter-cultural ways. In today’s Gospel, he says “for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” Why? Wouldn’t it seem better to reveal Himself to the wise who can then share this wisdom with others? As I step back, however, I think of all the wise and learned theology professors I’ve encountered. They taught me much about God, the Church, and doctrine. But perhaps the person who has taught me the most about faith is my four year old son.
Oftentimes I struggle to put the complexity of God into language that Mikey can understand. Last spring we were reading a kid’s book about the Easter Story and I was struggling to put Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection into simple, but accurate, words for him After a few minutes of fumbling with my thoughts, he looked at me and said: “So Jesus died on a cross because God loves us and wants us to be with him in heaven. Ok.” And he promptly headed off to play trains. Such a simple sentence, full of such deep significance, was all he needed. The faith of a child didn’t need complex theological terms or understanding. God revealed himself to the child and, in turn, reminded me to strive to be more childlike.
Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Francis Xavier, one of the co-founders of the Society of Jesus. As a missionary who spent most of his Jesuit life as a missionary in India and Japan, St. Francis Xavier was able to spread the Gospel to people wholly unfamiliar with Christianity. How did they receive the word of God? How did they first understand Jesus Christ? I imagine these were still more examples of God revealing to the childlike what was hidden from the wise. As we go through our day today, where are the opportunities to be as open to God’s presence as a child?
—Lauren Gaffey is Director of Programs and Administration at Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality. www.charisministries.org