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A Lost Greatness

text by Regina J. Clarkin
photos by John Isaac


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“A child is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

Children – they are the heartbeat of humanity. Pumping new life into us with their vitality, ingenuity and trust, they link us to our future. They are proof that God loves His creation. Every day they affirm that the Father still delights in renewing the face of the earth.

The overpowering responsibility of carrying the weight of the world on their tiny shoulders is handled with such effortlessness. What causes the young to be so carefree? Perhaps it is the wonder they possess. They hold an innocent wonder that is yet unspoiled by the burdens of life. For in that wonder lives the essence of simplicity, the uncomplicated acceptance of everything around them; what they see, feel, smell and hear.

The elderly possess that trait of wonder also. Not as a child’s wonder before a new experience, but, rather, wonder arising from the realization that one’s remaining sunsets are few. Because of that shared trait, a special affinity unites them. A radiant joy emanates from the elderly when they are in the company of children. For these two share an oblivion to detail which so often entraps and distracts us from appreciating the beauty surrounding us.

The ability to find cause for joy in the world around them allows children to be seers of the unseen, to stand in awe of things an adult takes for granted. Because of that guilelessness, they marvel at the butterfly dancing on flowers or Santa Claus and his reindeer.

Their complete unquestioning trust allows them to live the sacrament of the moment. They are unlike the adult who is hindered by life’s daily worries and concerns. Living one moment at a time, children possess a capacity to see and feel sharply, to reach out and grasp that which intrigues them.

“For children are greater than the grown man. All grown men have more experience, but only a very few retain the greatness that was theirs before the system of compromises began in their lives.”
– Robert Henri

Returning to the greatness we knew as children is what our Father told us we must do. “Unless you change and be come like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom.” (Mt 19)

To become childlike and not childish is the challenge for the Christian adult. To return to a simple, uncomplicated, guileless trust in God is what He asks of us. He longs for us to know Him as Father and to trust each moment of our lives to His loving care. Jesus rested in His Father’s love. Our Father has the same desire for us; to never doubt His love. By trusting Him we know our every need is fulfilled.

Children’s total dependency allows them to trust completely. Their trusting, despite their less than perfect worlds, is a plea for us to remove the blinders which prevent us from seeing our lost greatness. For we ought to rely on God. Instead we put our trust in our earthly resources; our money, our reputations, our knowledge. Swiftly we withdraw our trust from God.

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Tags: Children Christianity Reflections/Inspirational