Lord, Make Me Like a Little Child

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Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time


Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.


Opening Prayer:  Jesus, as I come before you today, I imagine myself as a little child. I see you smiling at me as I walk up to receive your hug. As I enter into my prayer, I thank you for my very life. I thank you that I can come to you as a child. Loving you isn’t about what I know but about how willing I am to trust you and open myself to you, how willing I am to listen to you and act on what you ask of me. Lord, I believe that you love me just as I am, and I hope in all that you call me to be. Teach me, Lord, to come to you more and more simply, like a little child.


Encountering Christ:


  1. Let the Children Come to Me:  Throughout the Gospels, we hear of people bringing their children to Jesus for healing, but in this instance, it seemed that the people were bringing their children to Jesus simply to be with him. They weren’t asking for anything but that their children be close to Jesus and be touched by him. They wanted them to have a personal encounter with Christ. We can imagine that, after Jesus indignantly told the disciples to let the children come to him, he smiled at the children. We can see him placing a gentle hand on their heads. Maybe we can even imagine him swinging them around and laughing. Jesus enjoyed being with the children. He wants to enjoy our children in the same way—and for them to enjoy and trust him. How faithful are we in bringing our children to Christ? Are they baptized? What about our grandchildren, nieces and nephews, godchildren, our children’s friends? Do we ask Jesus to bless them? How is our home and family life shaped by our faith? 
  2. The Kingdom… Belongs to Such as These: When Jesus said that the Kingdom belongs to “such as these,” we consider the characteristics of a young child: vulnerability, trust, dependence, curiosity, and a willingness to believe. Children are also often very persistent, forgiving, generous, affectionate, and simple. These characteristics contrast with what we see in someone who is immature: selfish, self-centered, demanding, easily bored, easily angered. Jesus asks us to be childlike, not childish.
  3. Like a Child:  When we become like a child, we trust our Father to know what is best for us. We turn to him for help with all our needs. We look to him for comfort and encouragement. When we are childlike, we are humble. We know we are little, and we know we are called to grow. In addition to our daily prayer, we grow when we make time for spiritual reading and extended moments of refreshment on retreat, when we share our spiritual journey with friends, when we are able to open up to a good spiritual guide. We know that we need the help of both God and others to grow into the saint we are meant to be.


Conversing with Christ: My Lord, it seems like it should be easy to be childlike, but there are so many obstacles. Instead of spending time with you in conversation and wonder, I am often satisfied reading about you and others’ experiences of you. Even though you know every thought, word, and deed in my life, I sometimes try to avoid bringing the things I am not proud of to you. I resist being dependent and asking for help. Lord, how can it be so hard to let go and be little? I am consoled when I think of you opening your arms to me as I would to a little child I loved. You smile at me and give me the strength to begin anew each day. Thank you, Lord, for your endless patience, and for your unconditional love.


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on the ways I have separated myself from you by failing to be childlike and I will make a plan as to how to overcome it. I will also reach out to one of the children in my extended family or a godchild to affirm and encourage him/her.


For Further Reflection: Listen to this “All Things Catholic” podcast by Dr. Edward Sri, Keeping Kids Catholic, in which he shares sociological research from Religious Parenting: Transmitting Faith and Values in Contemporary America by Christian Smith. 


Janet McLaughlin and her husband, Chris, live on a mountain in rural northeastern Oregon. She puts her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies to work as she shares the beauty and importance of the lay vocation in her writing, speaking, and teaching on spiritual topics.

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