–– Sito di FORMAZIONE PERMANENTE MISSIONARIA –– Uno sguardo missionario sulla Vita, il Mondo e la Chiesa A missionary look on the life of the world and the church –– VIDA y MISIÓN – VIE et MISSION – VIDA e MISSÃO ––
Unless you change and become like little children you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
How can we do that? How do we unlearn sophistication, undo the fact that we are adults?
Part of our quandary, I believe, comes from how we think of the heart of a child. When we picture the heart of a child we almost automatically think of innocence. A child’s heart is stunningly innocent.
Childhood is naturally outgrown and adulthood brings with it a bewildering complexity in life in general and in sexuality in particular that is not yet inside the heart of a child. And we don’t choose this. For an adult, life cannot be simple and much of the natural innocence of a child is lost in that fact.
So what does Jesus have in mind when he holds up the heart of a child as an ideal?
The quality of heart, seen in a child, that Jesus most challenges us to imitate is that of acknowledging powerlessness and helplessness. A child is powerless. It cannot provide for itself, feed itself, or take care of itself. A child knows dependence, knows that life comes from beyond itself, that it is not self-providing and self-sufficient.
But we tend to forget this as adults. The adult heart, at least during those years when we are healthy and strong, likes to believe itself to be self-providing, self-sufficient, able to take care of itself: I can provide for myself. The adult heart tends to live the illusion of self-sufficiency and that false notion is at the root of much of the pseudo-sophistication and lack of empathy that isolates us from others.
We have a choice: We can do this process deliberately, on purpose (so to speak), or we can fiercely guard our strength and sense of self-sufficiency and wait for nature, God, and circumstance to do it for us.
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