A 3rd graders request
Recently, I was substituting for a 3rd class at one of our Carmelite schools in NYC. At the end of the day of the little boys came up to me and started to pull on my habit. I looked down at him and he asked me “Father, you promised me at the end of the day you would tell me if I’ve been good.” I do not remember making this promise, but the look on the boy’s face, told me I did. I affirmed that he was a good kid that day, and that he can even better tomorrow. He gave me a hug and ran back to his friends to play as he waited for his parents to pick him up.
Am I different?
On my walk, home from school I started to reflect on this exchange between the 3rd grader and I. A question came to me “Am I any different?” How often in my life do I yearn to hear God tell me “You are good,” even if God just whispered it to me. The desire to be affirmed by God in a tangible way has been a powerful force in my spiritual life, and I feel it might be that way for others. The need for our ‘I’ to be comforted and strengthen by the praise of God and others.
A Place Among the Apostles
My mind turns to Matthew 19: 27 “Then Peter said in reply, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” I sense a need in St. Peter and thus the other apostles a desire to be affirmed in their choice to follow Jesus. Jesus promises them a place in the new world to come, if they remain humble. Just as Jesus spoke to the apostles about the need for humility he speaks the same to us.
He Rests in Us
Humility is a gift that helps to keep us from reaching beyond ourselves, to find ourselves. Why is this important? Because, we are the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Spirit. Christ resides in us, as His beloved. We need not yearn for his voice to affirm, because His gesture goes beyond the intimacy of words. Our goodness does not rest upon what we do and how we should be praised for those actions. Jesus, chooses to dwell in us, because he loves us. May His choice to reside in us and presence within us always satisfy and strengthen us.