First Reading: Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29
Fear not, my people!
You were sold to the nations
not for your destruction;
It was because you angered God
that you were handed over to your foes.
For you provoked your Maker
with sacrifices to demons, to no-gods;
You forsook the Eternal God who nourished you,
and you grieved Jerusalem who fostered you.
She indeed saw coming upon you
the anger of God; and she said:
“Hear, you neighbors of Zion!
God has brought great mourning upon me,
For I have seen the captivity
that the Eternal God has brought
upon my sons and daughters.
With joy I fostered them;
but with mourning and lament I let them go.
Let no one gloat over me, a widow,
bereft of many:
For the sins of my children I am left desolate,
because they turned from the law of God.
Fear not, my children; call out to God!
He who brought this upon you will remember you.
As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God,
turn now ten times the more to seek him;
For he who has brought disaster upon you
will, in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.”
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 69:33-35, 36-37
R. (34) The Lord listens to the poor.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him,
the seas and whatever moves in them!”
R. The Lord listens to the poor.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They shall dwell in the land and own it,
and the descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. The Lord listens to the poor.
Gospel: Luke 10:17-24
The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus,
“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”
Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.
Behold, I have given you the power
‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions
and upon the full force of the enemy
and nothing will harm you.
Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Of my nine children, four were born between September 29 and October 4. One would think that chances were excellent that I’d have a baby born on the feast of Saint Therese, one of my favorites. Just to up my chances, the first time I was expecting a girl around that time, I gave her Therese as a middle name. For months, I planned on a Saint Therese birthday baby. She was born September 30, six hours from the feast. The second time, I gave a girl child Rose as a middle name, because she was clearly the answer to a Saint Therese rose novena. She was born on the feast of Saint Francis. Go figure. What I have done here, though, is ensure that in that stretch of six days, five are party days. We celebrate birthdays and we go big for the feast of Saint Therese. In all our merrymaking, that leaves today, October 3, as the only quiet day to recover and gather my wits about me.
In today’s Gospel, I am reminded again of the place of true rest. We only truly rest when we have childlike faith in the Father. Instead of the arduous rough stairway of perfection that so many of us try to climb to heaven, Saint Therese, offers an alternative: the elevator. She says that the elevator which raises us to heaven is the arms of Jesus. No more striving. No more trying to put on big girl pants and get there on my own might, just the lifting of my arms to His and the asking to be carried. Childlike faith—which is actually the most mature faith—is about remaining little and humble in His arms.
When we are childlike towards the Father, we are totally dependent on Him and we lead lives of trust that He will tenderly care for us. Instead of powering through on my might in a great quest for holiness, I can be assured that, “What pleases Him is that He sees me loving my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope I have in His mercy.”
Can I rest in that? Can I know deep in my heart that I only need to be childlike and dependent at His feet and He will lift me in His arms to heaven? Living a life of childlike faith asks me to live true simplicity and humility. Tear away the messages of the world that compel me to be more and to do more. Instead, trust more. That big to-do list? The one that might have been inspired by equal parts Pinterest and Instagram? Prioritize it according to childlike humility and watch how many things fall away because they aren’t genuinely drawing us closer to God.
Childlike faith is all about choosing to remain little, choosing to live humility with every breath. It’s not about perfection and it’s not about big deeds. It’s about allowing myself to be carried in the arms of my Savior.
Elizabeth Foss is a wife, the mother of nine, and a grandmother. She finds the cacophony of big family imperfection to be the perfect place to learn to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace. You can learn more about her here.