Once upon a time, after watching the movie Cinderella, five-year-old Sarah starts using her pinwheel as a magic wand, pretending she is a fairy godmother. “Make three wishes,” she tells her father, “and I’ll grant them.” Her father first asks for world peace. Sarah swings her wand and proclaims the request fulfilled. Next, her father requests for a cure for all ill children. Again, with a sweep of the pinwheel, Sarah obliges. The father, with a glance down at his ample waist, makes his third wish, “I wish to have muscles again.” The miniature fairy godmother starts waving her wand madly. “I’ll need more power for this!” she exclaims.
Children get lost at play. There is no time. There is no future. There is only the important now! Children have no hang-ups. They have no fears. If I think back to my early childhood my mother almost has to drag my four brothers and me into the house after playing all day with my friends. The wonder of the yard with its birds and animals captures us in the daytime. And the wonder of lightning bugs captures us at nighttime. In fact, just this past Friday evening I stood at one of the windows of the abbey in wonder over the tiny flickering bodies of the fireflies illuminating the evening lawn. Why do we grow up only to lose the wonder of little ones? Why are we in a hurry to become wise and learned? Do they really make us spiritual people?
Jesus praises his Father because God hides things from people who think that they know it all. Yes, we learn theology. Yes, we study science. Yes, we are sophisticated. But according to St. Thomas Aquinas it is all straw compared to the wonder of faith.
Look what we have done with images of God-Jesus-Mary-Saints…often we make them into these glorious images covered in gold and silver. But according to the scriptures we ought to cover our images in gentleness and humility. The Savior will be someone who sits on a donkey. He will be a just savior who will banish all armaments from the land. He will be a savior of peace. In the words of our little Cinderella, we are going to need more power to envision an image of God who does not support our wars; who does not approve of our government budgets that rob the poor.
When I taught at Benet Academy, I warned my students that they will grow up and become tainted. They will become smart, learned and wise. In essence, I warned them about falling away from God. And in the words of many early church writers, I warned them not to become bullies, wise in the ways of evil. “We are not people of the flesh,” St. Paul tells us. “We are in the spirit.” And if we want to remain in the spirit, we need to be a little one. We need to become a child.
Jesus says, “Come to me as a little one because when you come to me as a wise and learned person you end up burdened, full of labors.” “When you come to me as a little one,” Jesus says, “ you learn gentleness, you find your heart, and, you relearn the art of wonder that you had as a child.”
To be a little one means that you and I check our egos at the entrance of the chapel. Here we Christians uncover the wonder of God at the Liturgy. Whether it is in song or silence, in word or worship, little ones know wonder! And to uncover wonder, we need a little more power. ~Fr. Becket