Today’s Gospel talks about children and their eminence in the kingdom of God. “… unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven….“ (Matthew 18:2-6). What is so special about children that Jesus gives special mention to the little ones?
You fully guessed it! It’s their child-like faith that makes the difference. Their absolute reliance on an elder, their innocence and love, it can truly warm the heart. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent or a brother, mentor or friend to a child. Their love and admiration is great, almost to a fault. And this is the kind of trust that our Lord looks in us.
But where are we now? We live in a period where information is readily available. Because we KNOW more, we QUESTION more. And that is the danger there. We doubt, we refute, we DISTRUST.
Not that questioning is bad. In fact, seeking the truth should be second nature to us as thinking creatures. But what if, in so seeking, you find something that you thought is true and begin to believe it as an authority, or something that works well for you?
Let’s talk about faith, our Catholic faith. More and more of us these days are what sociologists call “Cafeteria Catholics”, the kind of Catholic who chooses only the beliefs he wants to believe in and rejects the rest. For example, you believe in the sacrament of marriage but do not believe in confession. You pray regularly but do not go to mass. You believe in the sanctity of family life but also believe that divorce is the way to go if a relationship tours sour. And the list goes on.
This is one of the reasons why some Catholics leave and those who do stay become lukewarm. And there is more danger in a person with lukewarm faith than one without any at all. In a recent homily, Pope Francis warned that: “Lukewarm Christians, without courage … that hurts the Church so much because this tepid atmosphere draws you inside….”.
We question and look for direction, but the direction we point to is sometimes skewered. And what may be right to you may not always be the right thing to do. How to beat the darkness of tepidness?
Ask for proper guidance. Look for somebody who is knowledgeable and virtuous to give you advice. Go to a priest or a religious who can give you guidance over questions bothering your head.
Pray unceasingly. We are all guilty of this sometimes (or all of the time?). But guess what? Prayer truly helps even before you even say what you need. In periods of confusion, I always pray the Rosary or some devotion that would lift my heart and mind to God. Mother Mary and Jesus do it, the saints have done it. We should also make the effort to imitate them.
Read to find answers. Read the Bible or any pious book. These are books to put you in the right direction.
I’ve been a staunch Cafeteria Catholic in the past that almost led me to another religion. Were it not for the prayers of my mother, I would have been lost to the faith. I can very well say I am still in some way a Cafeteria Catholic, but I am resolved to know more about my faith and sticking fast to it. The key to discovering the truth is not just to ask questions, but to discover the reason, the TRUTH, behind it. I’ve been doing this for more than five years now, and though I am no closer to the truth than I did before, I can very well say I am deepening my roots in the faith.
And by deepening my faith, I am becoming a child again in the eyes of Jesus.