Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Childhood, an image of the Divine


First, click on this link to go to the website of A New Liturgy.  Press the play button at the top of the screen and listen to Chesterton's words being spoken aloud.  It's barely a minute long.  Listen first, read later.

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“The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grownup person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.

But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy)

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Imagine the child in this scene.  Perhaps you can't, never having seen or experienced it, or having forgotten it.  Perhaps you have better things to do.  Perhaps your own kids demand your attention.

Nevertheless, close your eyes and try for a moment.  Perhaps you've seen it somewhere.  A movie.  The park.

"Again!  Again!"  Laughter.

Rightly do we treasure childhood.  It's a crime to violate it, because it's a picture of humanity.  And what Mind conceived of and created it?  What Heart decreed that all of us, each and every one, should enter the world in this way?

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36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

Mark 9:36-37 (NRSV)

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But when we receive the child in the name of Christ, the very childhood that we receive to our arms is humanity.  We love its humanity in its childhood, for childhood is the deepest heart of humanity - its divine heart; and so in the name of the child we receive all humanity.

God is represented in Jesus, for that God is like Jesus: Jesus is represented in the child, for that Jesus is like the child.  Therefore God is represented in the child, for that he is like the child.  God is child-like.  In the true vision of this fact lies the receiving of God in the child.



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