Worshiping in Freedom as a Child

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Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time 


Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in Heaven always see the face of my Father in Heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in Heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.”


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my eyes and heart to see your love and live according to it.


Encountering Christ:


  1. As a Child before Jesus: We place ourselves amidst the crowd as one of the children before Jesus. There is a certain appeal to his demeanor, his smile, his laugh. We are eager to be near him. He tousles our hair and teases us. We experience the joy of being carefree in his presence where there are no judgements, no expectations, and no harsh demands. He desires that we rejoice in his presence. Suddenly we experience that others are annoyed at our presence. Jesus comes to our defense and we discover in him our protector. We are safe under his gaze that seeks our company. We are not rejected, nor shunned, nor abandoned.
  2. As an Adult before Jesus: We place ourselves before Jesus once again, this time as an adult with all of our past and present. We ask the Holy Spirit for light to see ourselves as he sees us, with all the times over the years that we have surrendered to worldly standards justified living according to those standards. We now see that worldly objects of devotion and affection can stifle the reverence and humility we should feel towards God and the things of God. What paths have we taken that divert us from Jesus, the one, essential desire of our wandering heart? We ask for the grace to return to the simplicity of a child.
  3. Worship in Freedom: The angels of Heaven live in the truth before God. Their entire being–understanding, will, desire–is truly present. They know themselves as they are: creations of God to whom they owe their existence. The truth sets them free to live a simplicity of spirit in which they express the highest form of liberty in a gesture of reverence and adoration before the throne of the Father. At this moment, we join them in this act of true worship. We ask to know ourselves as God the Father knows us, as his child whom he wills to bestow eternal life and love in the bosom of the Trinity. He does not wish for even one of his children to be lost. 


Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me as I am, for making it possible to be a child of God in and through you. Transform my heart according to your own so I may freely and properly praise you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will strive to recognize when the child in me is stifled by the immature adult. I will resist those temptations and remember that your saving grace is always present.


For Further Reflection: Discernment of Spirits, Rule 7.


Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”

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