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Pure Hearted as a Child

First Reading: Baruch 1:15-22

During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed:
“Justice is with the Lord, our God;
and we today are flushed with shame,
we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem,
that we, with our kings and rulers
and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors,
have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him.
We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God,
nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us.
From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt
until the present day,
we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God,
and only too ready to disregard his voice.
And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant,
at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt
to give us the land flowing with milk and honey,
cling to us even today.
For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God,
in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us,
but each one of us went off
after the devices of his own wicked heart,
served other gods,
and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 79:1B-2, 3-5, 8, 9

R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Gospel: Matthew 18:1-5, 10

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

NAB

oct 2

I am one of the Blessed Is She writers who is not a mother. I am not familiar with the reality of caring for children first-hand, but I do know a few things about children.

The innocence that children possess is always something incredible to watch and experience.

Children live in a state of awe. They are amazed . . . by bubbles, by the washing machine, by a passing butterfly, by being able to push their own tiny shopping cart in Trader Joe’s. The only experience they have of the world is their own first-hand experience . . . they are not jaded, cynical, or critical of themselves or others. Many of them wave and smile at strangers, viewing all those around them as friends. They live out their imaginations, always wanting to play, to explore, and to wonder. Children trust. Children do not worry. Children love and live in joy. They depend well on other people, and they are masters at the enjoyment of simplicity.

Is it any wonder that Christ wants us to be like children?

When I care for children, the thing that strikes me the most is the purity of their hearts. Christ said it Himself . . . Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

I desire deeply to see God in everything, but I no longer possess many of the aforementioned characteristics of children. It is true for so many of us . . . we do not always smile at strangers, we can be slow to trust others, and we worry all the time. Growing up has allowed negativity to creep in, stress to overwhelm, mistrust to rule, and apathy to control. Growing up has caused us to believe that Facebook and blogging has more to offer us than going outside to explore nature. It has caused us to be critical in our thoughts and actions toward others. It has caused us to lose much of our wonder and amazement at the world around us, losing our ability to see God in all things.

We slowly let go of the purity of our hearts along the road to and through adulthood.

Christ wants to restore this purity of heart within us. He wants to restore our joy, our faith, and our willingness to be dazzled by life. He wants us to become like little children with His help and His healing touch.

Will you let Him do so today?

I invite you to reflect on your life today . . . do you feel you have lost some of your purity of heart on the journey through adulthood? Try to be dazzled by the simple things as a child would today, and see how a whole day can change when you live in wonder and awe.

Emily Wilson planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but turned out to be a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking to people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in search of their true identity, and she loves ever second of it. You can find out more about her here.

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