Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Purity of a Child

I love to observe children's unabashed sentiments of friendship. My son is a popular, outgoing boy that everyone seems to love to be around. I've witnessed boys debating one another about which one of them was my son's best friend. And the disappointment on the face and in the voice of a boy who comes to our house to play, only to learn that my son is at someone else's house playing, tugs at the heart. The way my children will beg to spend more time with their friends and vice versa -- it's all so free and uncalculated. If I listen closely I hear a yearning in innocence for communion that makes my own soul glow in mystery.

What happens when we cease to be children? Or is it just me? Was it just me? I'm not entirely sure I was ever a child in the way I'm thinking about it here.

When we grow and mature, we become aware of more of what we were made for. And yes, it is communion. Profound communion. Mature hormones kick in to tell us we are made for a type of communion in which we give ourselves completely to one who is able to receive us completely, and we are meant to spiritually and physically reproduce ourselves in this world. Those drives can perfect us, and they can muck us up seriously, as well. We can become calculating. The pain of disappointment can become too much to bear, or feel, so we can start to push them down and divert ourselves from what we are made for.

But hold it. Kids can do that, too. I did. But just today I witnessed that purity I wrote about earlier -- that pure longing for friendship expressed by a child. Purity is possible, just like deformation is.

We're made for more than sex, more than marriage. The only one we can give ourselves to completely and the only one who is able to receive us completely is the One who made us, the One who holds us in life. We are made for God, for union, for unity with Him through the absorption of ourselves in Him, which makes us most perfectly the unique individuals we were created to be, free from calculations, from self-conceit.

But God has gone and created this as a sacramental universe. He comes to us, not despising created means, but embracing them, employing creation to woo us, to show us His face, to pour His grace upon us: the Incarnation.

Which is why I can look at the child at my door and feel my heart bursting with the mystery of God present with us, calling me to Himself.

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