|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXIII: ”Four Things Which Bring Great Peace” (fourth entry)
The words of the disciple above are part of his prayer for enlightenment to “dissipate al darkness from the habitation of my heart.” Concupiscence and sin weaken the will and darken the intellect. The disciple begs Christ for light and truth to overcome these enemies of the soul.
|Today’s Gospel reading: Mt 11:25-27
This excerpt (that we also heard the Sunday before last) comes on the heels of yesterday’s reading in which Jesus condemns several towns in which He preached. “These things” that He taught are meant for all hearers, but only some have the openness, the “childlike” disposition, to accept them through grace in faith. Then Jesus emphasizes His special relationship with God the Father, as His Son and messenger.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Mt 19:14)
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written:
“He catches the wise in their own ruses,”
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.” (1 Cor 3:19-20)
This first verse above is often used to emphasize the importance of catechesis of the young. But are we not all called to exhibit the beautiful openness of children to the wonders of truth, beauty, and goodness? The march of time and the onslaught of worldly cares can well see us become “a sterile and desert land,” but Jesus our “light” (Jn 8:12) and “truth” (see Jn 14:6) wishes to water us with the Spirit’s graces (let us here recall our baptism). In order to receive the full benefits of God’s grace, we must revert to a childlike state, an interior disposition of receptivity, that places the Lord above all priorities, interests, and concerns. Being “worldly wise” leads only to eternal foolishness.
As a related side note, I wish to emphasize here the importance of teaching our children well, and the necessity of continuing our learning of the Faith all life long. Developing a properly formed conscience is the duty of the faithful toward our young people. And how are we to do this well if we ourselves are not steeped in Scripture and Church teaching that provide light and truth, forming our own consciences well? We are blessed with an embarrassment of orthodox Catholic riches at our fingertips, literally. Let us make a daily habit of informing our faith so that we may help build up the Kingdom in ourselves and others.