Monday, February 24, 2014

Be Childlike before God and World

By Beth DeCristofaro

Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? … So submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  (James 4:4, 7-8)

(Jesus said) “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”  Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” (Mark 9:35-37)

I call upon you, Lord God.  Lord, save me. (Psalm 55:17)

Those of us in health care must constantly be vigilant to treat patients with deep respect for their human dignity because there is such a power inequality between those serving and those being served.  We must not see people as the “kidney failure down in room 230” or “that difficult old guy who keeps calling me every five minutes for nothing.”   Love allows me to know that when my kidney fails I will be just like her.  Humility informs me that when I find myself with dementia I too will be calling out for a familiar, safe face.  I have human kidneys, a human mind and God gave them to me as well as you.

In a homily, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton[i], said “God only wants us to become the full person that God has made us to be. That is why God wants us to seek out what is good, to seek out how to be a full person, by loving and being loved. That is our relationship with God. Loving God and being loved by God.”   Jesus’ choice of a little child is so apt because children eager to love and to be loved just as God wants us to be.  Children also delight in being full of potential.  They love to soak up newness and enjoy finding out what their bodies, emotions and minds can do.   Our relationship with God is likewise full of potential joy, love, and fulfillment.  But we can’t grow toward God by focusing solely on the world even though it, too, is a powerfully awesome example of God’s creative love. 

What brings out the childlike in you?  What might you do to experience not only the giddy fun and awed wonder but the freedom to admit how much you do not know yet long to know, not in guilt and regret but in anticipation?  Play some children’s music in the background as you sit with God in silence or pray using children’s prayers.

Take an opportunity to humble yourself by accepting aid, love, nurturing from the next person who offers it.  Thank God for loving you through God’s servant.

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