If we want to be with God always and to know the fine points of his mysterious will and ways, we need to be always simple and childlike. Christ may have told us also to be clever and shrewd like serpents, but that quality which is also a necessity in our life here on earth should never compromise our simplicity. In fact, that cleverness should also spring from our simplicity.
Christ is quite clear about this point. “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” he said, “for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (Mt 11,25)
Christ reiterated this necessity of being childlike a number of times during his preaching. “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18,3) “Let the children come to me. Do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mk 10,15) St. James, in his letter, made the same affirmation. “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (4,6)
With these words, it’s quite clear we all need to be childlike even as we grow in age and stature, and even as we accumulate already quite a significant amount of knowledge with our exposure to the world and the life in general.
Yes, children and heaven are almost synonymous to each other. No wonder we feel like we are in heaven every time we see children around. Every time a baby is born, we are very happy because we somehow know that he just did not come out of his mother’s womb, but rather from the very hands of God who created him before the parents procreated him.
In spite of the many limitations of children, what makes them always desirable is their pure, innocent heart, incapable of malice, ambition, pride and haughtiness. They are a source of many other good things.
Their heart is always trusting in the Lord always, just like a little kid is always confident with his father. Faith and hope easily grow and acquire strength when nurtured in a child’s heart. It’s this attitude that leads them to go on and move on no matter what, for life to them could only be an adventure of discoveries.
Simplicity helps us accept and live the faith. It’s what makes us children who accept things first, who allow ourselves to be guided and taught, before asking questions, not out of unbelief but rather for greater understanding.
Remember what our Lord said about the kingdom of heaven. He went as far as to say that it is for little children precisely because of their simplicity: “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me. For the kingdom of heaven is for such.” (Mt 19,14)
We need to devise an interior mechanism, more spiritual than material, to keep ourselves like children even as we grow in worldly knowledge and skills, and prone to thinking that we can already live by ourselves, independently of God.
This mechanism can include anything that fosters our presence of God all throughout the day, the practice of rectifying our intention and relating everything that we do to God. We have to break the barrier of awkwardness and incompetence in this regard. We actually have the means. What’s missing is our will to use this mechanism.*