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Monday, March 08, 2010

Talking With God as a Child

Today I read a wonderful post by Msgr. Charles Pope, and found myself alternately nodding along, smiling, laughing, and tearing up with his observations, and in the video he posted.

Children have this incredible gift, that, in their innocence are are fully who they are, they are perfectly honest, and haven't learned the terrible adult habit of censorship. In children, tactlessness is endearing, can be painful to us if we are the target of their observations, and they are shocking in their familiarity with God.

Wait.

Shouldn't we ALL be somewhat shocking in our familiarity with God?

After all, it is through Jesus Christ that we can call God our Father, and even beyond that, we can call Him ABBA! God invites our familiarity, for it is only in knowing Him that we can love him....and in loving Him that we can know Him.

Today I realized what has been lacking my prayer life: childlike familiarity with my Father.  I regularly pray the Liturgy of the Hours and find it to be indispensable;  when I miss an Hour, I feel like a chunk has been taken out of my soul.  If I miss my Rosary, I feel like I'm cheating somehow, and recognize immediately the distinct absence of Our Lady and Jesus in my life, for it means I have chosen my own will above love for Our Lord.

There are times that I go to my Adoration Hour and pray the Liturgy of the Hours as "duty" as opposed to doing it because I love it, and love Our Lord, in whose presence and in whose very words I pray.

There are times that I miss NOT having those devotions, and that faithfulness to the official Prayer of the Church (the LOH).

I've come to a point that even though I know true prayer is an ongoing dialogue with God, and that the Rosary and the LOH are part of that, and facilitate it, it is somehow not...enough.  It almost causes a disconnect, and that disconnect is my fault. It is up to me to not limit myself to what I HAVE to do, but to spend time talking with Jesus, and listening with all my heart and soul.

So what if I've had a bad day?  Why NOT tell Jesus about it and complain to Him?  Perhaps He can help me put the situation in perspective and turn the complaint into a blessing!

And what if I get new running/walking shoes (which I desperately need)....shouldn't I bring both my old and my new ones to the One I profess to love so much?  Why wouldn't He care about such small needs?  Doesn't one who loves another care about the little things?

Children don't hesitate to bring anything to Jesus. They come to Him as they are, they are totally honest in what they are thinking and feeling and believing or not believing.  Isn't He the source and the end of all things? The Alpha and the Omega? Why can't we, as adults, be as honest and direct, for after all, Jesus knows us far more deeply than we know ourselves!

Our humanity is not offensive to Jesus. What is offensive is the denial of our humanity and in our denial, our tacit refusal to rise above the animal nature to cooperate with grace that seeks to elevate us.  How can we be elevated if we refuse to even enter into conversations that bare our souls, giving Our Lord a chance to enter into and elevate us beyond what we can see in our blindness?

I have decided that, during this great season of Lent, I need to focus on being a child again, and  speaking with Jesus with the same forthright honesty, whether or not it puts me in a bad light.  I need to put aside my terrible plague of self-love and be who I am, in all my moods, in my sin, in what is good. I need, in short, to be willing to be child-like in the face of God, a very Teresean Spirituality (St. Therese of Lisieux), knowing my littleness, knowing God's Fatherhood, and recognizing that, truly, spiritually, I am not beyond the level of infancy.

How better to approach God than as a tiny infant? How can He resist? To reach for Him with tiny hands, with little smiles, widened eyes, random giggles, engaged in everything as if for the very first time.  Growing into toddlerhood wanting to know more, to be with He who is loved, gazing upon Him with adoring eyes, focused on every gesture, speaking every word to Him from the heart.

I want to recover this form of child-like prayer, in all its boldness, in all its humility, in all its expression of true respect, honesty, devotion and above all....love.

7 comments:

shadowlands said...

I approach both Jesus and Mary in this way sometimes.

Julia said...

There's a little booklet I love that I think you would also like. It has about twenty short chapters/meditations on this topic. It's by St. Alphonsus and is called "How to Converse Continually and Familiarly with God" or something along those lines. I think I got it on the EWTN store website.

Adoro said...

Julia ~ Oh, I love St. Alphonsus Liguouri!

saintos said...

How ever we speak, no doubt He is listening.

Mary333 said...

Adoro,
I really enjoyed this post. We are God's kids and should be able to talk to Him about anything. My daughter makes me laugh because sometimes her prayers sound like little orders, "Lord, DO NOT forget to bless Grandpa because he is in pain and needs a REALLY BIG blessing from you today. And make sure you bless me cause I have a cold and feel yucky." I call her "The General":) The Lord created her with a strong will, her prayers make me smile. I always tell her that children's prayers are super powerful because God loves children so much [she's six]. He loves us so much...even His bigger kids :) I agree with you, along with our regular devotions I think He loves heart-to-heart talks with us.

Suburbanbanshee said...

Of course He's always listening. But it's about becoming full of holiness by spending time with Him, not just about communication of words or thoughts.

So it's better for us to have the right attitude, so that we can receive Him instead of trying to keep Him out.

Adoro said...

Suburbanbanshee ~ right. It's the classic "both/and". It's good to have the right attitude, but that alone isn't enough. Prayer is a DIALOGUE, which requires communication...both to be offered and to receive. And our form of communication with God often reveals our attitude. What I am staying here is that I realize what I am missing...a childlike trust and dependence upon God.

The phrase... Lex orandi, lex credendi applies. Maybe if I take time to pray as a child prays, that trust will grow.

But I wouldn't stay attitude is "better", but rather, a necessary component of a good relationship with God.