October 2, 2017
by Molly Mattingly
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of the Guardian Angels
Lectionary: 455/650

Zechariah 8:1-8
Pslam 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23
2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14
Matthew 18:1-5, 10

Praying Ordinary Time

I have hit the age when many of my peers are starting families. In the last year or so, eight of the couples in my close-friends-and-family community have welcomed newborn children. Six of those couples welcomed their first child, and for four couples it was the first grandchild on either side of the family. This summer, I spent most of my vacation time meeting their new babies. (We were also able to catch up a bit, but it is awfully difficult for any of us to pause either caring for or admiring their little ones). I managed to drop in on daily life in four of my friends’ households. They were having brunch, or at the local library storytime, or helping their parents move to a smaller house, or at home just after naptime. All of them apologized that we didn’t “do anything” while I was there, which was completely unnecessary since the only reason I was there was to see them.

I love watching my friends be parents. The moments with their families this summer were clear reflections of God’s love – unconditional, ever-present, always on call, treasuring our very existence, and yet, everyday. My friends’ infant children rely on their parents for everything. I love watching their delight in discovering the world, or their innocent confusion when something doesn’t fit their newly formed expectations. One of them saw a baby in the mirror on his toy, but there was no baby on the other side when he looked around! Everything is new to them. Often discovery elicits wonder. (Sometimes it elicits tears or loud complaints. Don’t tell me you haven’t been there, too.) They try things without reserve because everything is a beginning. They have no expectation that they will already be experts at anything. They don’t even know what expertise is. They simply are themselves.

These are the images that come to my mind when Jesus tells his disciples, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” I know that there are other historical connotations there. I think the aspects of childhood I witnessed this summer are also in play: total reliance on a loving God, delight in discovering something good, willingness to admit I am not an expert at life, and the ability to simply be as I am.

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