Jan 10, 2020 filed under Faith.

faith of small child

Every time the priest said, “Body of Christ,” 2-year-old Joseph, sitting in the pew behind me, proclaimed, “Amen.” Mothers and grandmothers were almost melting in their places as his sweet little voice told the truth that is hidden from the clever and the self-sufficient.

When little Joseph enters the chapel with his mother for weekday Mass, he goes to the front, drops to his knees, and looks at Jesus in the tabernacle for a moment. He then toddles to his seat.

After Mass, he and his mother go up to the tabernacle where Joseph says in a chirpy voice that could only belong to a 2-year-old, “Ba-bye, Jesus!” As his mother leads him out of the chapel, he looks back with another “Ba-bye, Jesus.”

Not everyone knows what Joseph knows. Or maybe we are not childlike enough to believe that Jesus means what he says in Luke 22:19: “This is my body.”

Wisdom in small packages
One of my favorite saint stories is of the 5-year-old Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868), who would later found the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. Little Peter’s babysitter-sister lost track of him one morning. She looked everywhere she could think of, with no luck. She stopped by the church and there was Peter, snuggled up next to the tabernacle. “What are you doing up there?” she asked. “I can hear Him better from here,” he answered.

Wide-eyed faith
I don’t think there is such a thing as “blind” faith. These little ones believe for two reasons: because their parents believed and shared the reality of it, and because the young souls experienced something of the love of God in their hearts which, rather than making them “blind,” opened their eyes to the reality of the invisible God. These faith-filled tikes responded not to a “belief,” but to someone who is really present in the tabernacle.

Simple faith
During the time of year when we celebrate the baby Jesus, we can ask ourselves: “How can my faith become more childlike?”

Here are three things to consider:

  1. Call to mind the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:14: “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
  2. Ponder the promises of God, which inflame our hearts to want to be His trusting children.
  3. Indulge in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A famous story has an old man in the back pew of the church, day after day, year after year. The pastor asks him what he does, just sitting back there. The man replies, “I look at Him…and He looks at me.” Maybe the very old and the very young have a special gift for simple faith. But we in the middle, who tend to complicate things, can remedy that if we show up and let Jesus himself be our guide to a childlike faith that brings us the kingdom of heaven—starting now!

Scroll down and let me know which one of the three ways appeals to you most!

Love always,

11 Responses to “Big Faith in Small Packages”

  1. Mary Faye McAneny

    Definitely 3. St Teresa of Calcutta also famously said the same words of the reciprocal gaze. For me With that come the conversation. “What would you have me do?” Sometimes the answer is “Just stay and keep me company “

    • Rose Folsom

      Your comment reinforces Msgr. Hart’s homily last night that Jesus doesn’t love us for what we do, but for who we are (in Jesus). That we do things because of who we are in Christ; we don’t earn God’s love by what we do. I always need to be reminded of that!

  2. Suzanne Landis

    Recalling the words of Jesus daily through reading the Gospel and meditations, especially Faith ND and Bishop Barron, help to ground me in the simple faith of a child.

    Thank you for creating this community of faith Rose.

    • Rose Folsom

      Thank you, sweet Suzanne. I, too, love the community that has gathered here. In wanting to offer more, I’m considering starting a membership community that would include live and recorded mini-courses, inspiration, maybe a book club, and most important, live “mini-teachings” followed by real-time conversation in a safe, supportive atmosphere via Zoom (it’s like Skype, but better for online gatherings). Are you interested in learning more?
      God bless,

  3. Rose Folsom

    The story about the two-year old boys is striking. It is a testament to the super important role parents play in the faith of their children! If the faith is important to the parents, then it will be important to their children.

    All three are wonderful but I find the Lord’s verse from Matthew 19:14 near & dear to my heart. In the days of Christ when he walked the earth, women were second class citizens. Did you know they couldn’t even be witnesses? Children were even less. They were basically considered just property.

    Christ changed this completely hence he changed the world for the better.
    Peace in Christ,

  4. Melanie Rigney

    Adoration… and I love that you used the verb “indulge,” because that’s truly what it feels like. How great is our God to have sent his Son in the flesh… and that we are invited to share in his victory in the Eucharist… and to adore Him!

  5. Tom Roberts

    “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” (Matthew 19:14) My sponsor into the church, Norb Haas, took it literally. Like many young children his were fussy at mass until he got the idea of moving them up to the front row where they could see the action. It worked.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *