Matthew 18: 1-5, 10
Father in heaven,
thank you for giving me another day to grow in love for you, another day to move ahead in my
spiritual life, another day to pray for the souls closest to me. I want only to please you during
this brief time of prayer.
Lord, grant me the grace of childlike
1. Turning the Tables:
The disciples are curious about the Kingdom of Heaven, and their curiosity
has a tinge of self-interest. They want to know how to get ahead in the Kingdom. Their very question
belies a misunderstanding of Christ. The Kingdom, among other things, is reflected in the Church on
earth. And the Church, being universal, is a kind of family that takes in all mankind. If ever we
ask, "Who is the greatest in our family?" we can be sure that it is the wrong kind of question. The
more appropriate question is: "How can I be a better member of the family? How can I be a better
husband? A better wife? A better son or daughter or brother or sister?" That is the question Christ
wants us to ask ourselves.
2. Child's Play:
We must not think that Christ had a naive notion of children as little
angels who never do wrong. So why does Christ hold up children as models for the rest of us? In
part, it is their simplicity, their tendency to trust. They might not understand why a parent tells
them something, but they likely will accept it because they realize it comes from someone who loves
them. The spiritual life requires that same kind of trust. We might not understand completely why
God asks us to do something, but if there's a basic trust and openness to him, it is easier to
follow his commands. Many people, unfortunately, squander what should be the most productive years
of their lives because they doubt God and his Church. They complicate things, only to find years
later the wisdom of what Our Lord was trying to tell them. By then, their faults can be forgiven,
but not undone. Once a vase is broken, it can be fixed but it will never be the same as if it had
never broken. Am I saying no to God because of a lack of trust?
3. Angelic Aid:
Prayers to guardian angels used to be
popular with Catholics. It is fitting that we pray to them, because each of us has one. "Beside each
believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life," writes St. Basil (see
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 336). Our angel reflects God's loving providence for our welfare
and protection. The world is a moral minefield, waiting for us to make the wrong step. Our angel
helps us make it through this valley of tears. Do I ever think to pray to my angel?
Conversation with Christ:
The simplicity of children can make me look foolish by
I believe in you and trust you, Lord.
Help me to translate that trust into
serenity and simplicity.
Let me accept the crosses of daily life with
seeing your loving designs behind them.
I will say "yes" to the next difficult
thing someone asks of me, so long as it is something morally good.