The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.
Greetings to all! This was part of the Gospel reading today at Mass and it is one that I have heard countless times over the years. What typically happens when I am very familiar with a particular Gospel reading is that my mind immediately goes to, yeah yeah, yeah, be innocent, be pure, be simple I know this old dog and pony show. And sure enough the priest went on in his homily to say that yes we are supposed to be innocent like little children and I was like see, I have heard this one before, but then, he through a curve ball at me. He said we also need to be dependent and trust in our Heavenly Father, just as children are dependent and trust of their earthly parents.
That got my mind thinking about Ella, Dude, and yes even Cate. Although Ella believes, at the ripe old age of four that she is capable of doing just about everything on her own, unbenouced to herself she cannot. She still needs someone to cook her food, put her to bed at a reasonable hour, which last night was a daddy night, so they got to stay up later watching cartoons and eating sugar candy because mommy was not home. Dude, needs some one to help him put his Spiderman undies back on, that boy can get them off faster than lighting and usually in places that I would prefer him keep them on his little body, like my mother-in-law’s front yard where he decided it was a good place to pee because he saw the dog peeing in the front yard. Cate needed someone to change her poopy diapers and to hold her bottle while she ate. All three of them are and were dependent on their mommy and daddy to take care of their everyday needs. They have complete trust that if they are hungry, they will be feed. If they can’t get their underwear off their head and back on their bottoms, that there will be someone there to help them. If their leotard is stuck on their face that mommy or daddy knows the trick to get it off. They place all of the trust in us and for the most part we don’t let them down, because we love them, we care for them, and we want the best for them and underwear stuck on their face in their Nana’s front yard is not necessarily the best for them or the son-in-law, which happens to be me.
After that train of thought had left the station, I was reminded of the scripture verse Matthew 6:30, “If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you.” In these troubling times that we find ourselves this is where our dependence and trust must rise to the top of our hearts. We must willingly and frequently fling ourselves into the loving and guiding hands of our Heavenly Father. Those times when life feels like it pulls our underpants over our face and we can’t see and we can’t get them off, God is right there trying to help us to get them off and so often we, like my four year daughter, just keep telling Him, “No, I can do it myself,” and He patiently asks, “Will you let me help?”
I spoke to a good buddy of mine on the phone this morning and he asked the question, “What is the one thing that you feel like is pulling you through this time?” I said, well, it’s actually two things. First, it’s Daily Mass and the Eucharist, as often as I can get there. When I am going to daily Mass and receiving the Eucharist things stay in perspective and I feel as though I have the strength to continue on. When life gets “busy” and I “can’t” make it to Mass, is when I start losing hope and losing my focus of who is really guiding me through this. I start thinking “I” have to get the underwear off my head myself, instead of just trusting and accepting the help that God is trying to give me. Secondly, I continue to invite God into these emotions and moments of real heartache. Over the past year I have begun to work on some inner healing prayer with my spiritual director. The premise of this type of prayer is that attached to every memory is an emotion and as time goes on whenever that memory is triggered you experience that emotion again. Through inner healing prayer you invite or ask God to take you back into your heart and into certain memories where you felt like He wasn’t there and to show you that He was in fact there. This process allows those old memories and emotions associated with those memories to begin to be healed and you do not have to continue living out of the past hurts. I know this may sound a little crazy and I was skeptical at first big time, but God has really rocked my heart over the past year and given me a lot of freedom. So, what I told my buddy was either I invite God in now and let Him reveal Himself to me and show me that He is here with me or I am going to live the next twenty years out of abandonment, hurt, and anger, because I think, “God didn’t show up.”
What I am getting at is the more that we can depend on God and trust that He will show up, the more that we can live freely and enjoy our lives that He gives us here on earth. Have you ever just sat and watched little kids play? They have no worries, you know why? Because they ultimately trust that they are being watched, guarded, and protected by the eye of their parents or people that their parents know and trust. My prayer is that during this process of grieving that we as a family can continue to learn to depend and trust that God is going to be with us, comforting us, guiding us, and ultimately healing us, even if we can’t get our underwear off our head, He knows the trick. I ask that you pray that our dependence and trust might increase, that we stop looking to ourselves or to things of this world and start looking to our Heavenly Father who knows exactly what we need. Much Love, The Cantrells