Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Such a darling child with a dazzling smile and a gurgling laugh....the child everyone wanted to hug...and why not? It was her birthday. Friends of the family dropped in to pay their respects and present their gifts...a variety of dolls, big ones, small ones; simple ones, others extravagant.

Each present reflected a calculated guess of what the child would appreciate. Or have I got it wrong? Could be the presents were chosen according to what would gain the respect and approval of the parents. I ponder. I wonder. I'm not into the dynamics and diplomacy of present-giving to other people's children.

Have you noticed how small infants are not well versed in the social graces of showering volumes of tactful gratitude upon those who appear to be in desperate need of it? This sweet mite impulsively grabbed the rag-doll from the pile of expensive presents. What she wanted, what she needed, according to a sublime instinct was this puny object, obviously made out of the off-cuts from the dressmaker. I stress the need because cuty-child and rag doll became inseparable companions, night and day.

No learned explanation do I have to offer why she preferred this ordinary scrappy thing to an exceptionally splendid doll that was huge, lavishly dressed, with eye that closed if it were held in a position of repose and which burped if its tummy were unceremoniously squeezed. (Who wouldn't do likewise?)

At the risk of making a fool of myself, I would like to suggest that there's a season, very early in life when instinctive cravings -such as to be nourished and comforted -correspond to absolute needs. It seems as though this infant craved for the rag-doll, rather than for the pricey one, because that was what she needed, must have. In her rag-doll she found peace and security.

Before not too long this child would come to want what she didn't really need. This would become the pattern for most of the rest of her life. I find this is also true of myself! And what about you?

I'm reminded of Luke 18. 15-17
"People even brought babies to Him, for Him to touch them; but when the disciples saw this they scolded them. But Jesus called the children to Him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such that the Kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'"

This little one is teaching me that I must revert to that distant time when my longings were far more simple and corresponded to my real needs...wholesome cravings implanted in me by God, my Creator. He, my Heavenly Father, has always intended me to live a wholesome life...with my ways being in step with His ways.

I, Yesterday's Child, am today to welcome the Kingdom of God by way of my godly choices. I, as an adult, am to learn that this all has to do with seeking and attaining simplicity and innocence. And this I find myself learning from a baby girl clutching a rag-doll!
Peter O.P.
Next week Fr. Isidore will meet God by Standing and Staring

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