Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

A Little Child Before God

One reason that I love my patron saint so much is that she is about becoming a child before God, and given that I am so childlike (idiotic) in so many way, I like this notion of being a baby with God. I can do that. What I have trouble doing is growing up.
In this excerpt, St. Therese of the Child Jesus writes about what she means by “remaining a little child before God”:

It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaining our living. Even among the poor, they give the child what is necessary, but as soon as he grows up, his father no longer wants to feed him and says: “Work now, you can take care of yourself.”
It was so as not to hear this that I never wanted to grow up, feeling that I was incapable of making my living, the eternal life of heaven. I’ve always remained little, therefore, having no other occupation but to gather flowers, the flowers of love and sacrifice, and of offering them to God in order to please him.
To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognize that God places this treasure in the hands of his little child to be used when necessary; but it remains always God’s treasure. Finally, it is not to become discouraged over one’s faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much.

  • Wisdum

    My perception of Jesus, as a child, and grown, was that He never lost the childlike wonder lust, that is common with children, but is very often lost in adulthood. Perhaps it was the same feeling that I have about being grown up . . .”We are born smart and grow up to be stupid” . . . Perhaps so much, that He could never seriously communicate with the grown ups, so much so, that he would say “Come to me, as a child”. His message was so simple and so much the innocence of a child, and to this day, we still don’t get it. Yes, it’s true, I too have Peter Pan Syndrome (is that part of being bi-polar?) “I don’t wanna grow up !” . . .But I do want to Love and be Loved . . is that so much to ask of this world we have created, obviously not in God’s image and likeness . . . By the Way adult is derived from a dolt . . . how depressing a forward path is that . . . hmmmm
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Larry Parker

    Again, my inner child has progeria … yet another reason, it seems, why the things that are so difficult for me come, not easily (faith is never easy), but NATURALLY to you …

  • Margaret Balyeat

    I’m not sure, Larry that faith comes naturally to ANYONE! Having spent the 30+ working years of my adult life working with children, I learned that even they need to have proof that their faith in you is justified. And if you mess up, they’re quick to forgive, but do require that you earn their confidence all over again. I doscovered (and I think there’s a lesson here for all of us so-called adults) that the best way to regain their lost confidence was to be honest and admit my error and ask for their forgiveness–yes, even in the public school system, even though I had to be mindful not to bring God into the conversation.For many of my former students it was a new concept that adults weren’t always right noe (GASP!) didn’t have all the answers, but they absolutelyLOVED exploring those concepts with me and delighted in “catching me in an error once they understood that it was okay(even encuraged) to do so. And whn they asked (more often than i like to remember or admit) a question to which I didn’t have an answer, we would research it together via the internet or old-fashioned reference books.
    To me,the application of childishness to faith is the exuberance with which children usually embrace the wonders around them, for isn’t faith, indeed a wonderous thing? children by nature aren’t afraid to experience (Until failure or some other painful consequence teaches them to be. I think that’s how we’re meant to approach faith–with a child-like willingness to experience it. and yes, there are going to be bumps along the way that discourage us from opening ourselves to the experience. that’s true of everything in life. (remember your first foray into the realm of non-familial love? The fears of having our hearts broken proved to be all to true for most of us at at least one point in our earliest relationships,but most of us remained open enough to continue looking for our “one true love” anyway after we applied an entire roll of duct tape to our hearts We haveto apply that same stick-to-itiveness to faith as well.Whatever organized religions or belief systems we explore that don’t work out, we must continue to be open to our higher power’s (God, to me) voice pulling us back into the fold even if it’s not exactly the same one we belonged to (or thought we did) before we lost our initial enamorment with it. The world is full of options for all of us, and it’s a journey rather than a destination! If you went to a jesuit-founded institution as I recall you mentioning a day or two ago, surely you were exposed to alternate ways of approaching faith. whatever you do, DON’T quit seeking; that’s where (I believe, anyway)most of us become so mired down in our bouts of illness that we can’t recognize faith when it taps us on our shoulder once again. sometimes (again, I speak ONLY for myself; take it for what it’s worth)you might feel like a hypocrite because the faith you’re seeking seems so elusive and what others may see as your example of strong belief seems pitifuly weak to you, but I suspect that most seriously sincere seekers go through periods of self-doubt. In my own case, if we’re all descended from the apostles, i’m sure I must be one of Thomas’s descendents. I’m sure i would ave neededto touch or see His wounds after the resurrection had taken place. and yet it’s comforting to me that jesus understood Thomas’s need well enough to comply because that helps me believe that He will afford me that same understanding after one of my occasional bouts of doubt. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve started a prayer with “Okay, God, if you’re really out there, I need a sign.” I think God always knew we’d each have moments of doubt and fear when our faith needs rejuvenation which is why he gave us so many Biblical examples in the parables of him acting as a shepherd. Shepherds, even in today’s world NEVER give up on a sheep that has wandered away from the flock; a single sheep is worth far too much. And if He “numbers the hairs on each of our heads, that alone speaks volumes for how valuable each of us is to Him. We never know how the individual is whom he’s sent into our lives (yes,even relative strangers from a blog) for the sole purpose of allowing us to strengthen our own faith in Him. I certainly don’t want to presume to sprak for Therese; she does an enviable job of that for herself, but from reading her blog since august, i’ve gotten the sense that even as strong as she is, there are moments when she too feels thattermite of doubt eating away at her foundation It’s part and parcel of the human condition, I think. If faith were easy, God wouldn’t have had to sacrifice His blessed Son. And even Christ himself showed telltale signs of doubt both in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. (“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”) I know itSEEMS as if certain other individuals have a totally unweavering strength of faith, but I honestly suspect that’s exactly what it is–an appearance rather than a reality. I’ve grown to believe that it’s how we live our lives that honestly proves our faith or lackthereof and from what you’ve shared so well on your posts, you have tackled life’s tough times with a faithful attitude AND been inspirational to others of us along the way in the process! If that isn’t a manifestation of strong faith, i’m not sure what is! Your obviously serious ateempts to understand yourself in spite of your illness (Maybe because of?) speak to a very spiritual personality. I envy your family and friends the privilege of knowing you.
    None of this is meant to distract from Therese; I, too, find her to be a beacon of all that’s true and soul-satisfying about maintaining a faithful attitude in this journey called “seeking spiritual wellness”and envy her family and friends as well.

  • Wisdum

    Larry Parker | October 2, 2007 1:01 PM
    Again, my inner child has progeria … yet another reason, it seems, why the things that are so difficult for me come, not easily (faith is never easy),
    ** It ain’t never been easy for me either, in fact it was so hard, that I said to God “That’s it I give up ! From here on out, it’s all up to You” .. My friends and wife say “You can’t do that, that’s a cop-out!” . . and my response was “Too bad, I did and I stand (or fall) on that!” Interesting thing, I got nothing to gain, nothing to lose… I’m dead to this world. All I gotta do is what God tells me… if nothing, I got the day off, to go hiking, fishing, or just smell the roses. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I’m up all night, dealing and wrestling with God (did you know He’s a big card player and big sports fan ?)
    There ain’t nothing natural in this world except Life and Death …in fact we are the only creatures on this planet that are Super-Natural, and that’s why it’s so dam hard ! Look around you, is there any other creatures that have to deal with all this crap ! You think God doesn’t have a sense of humor, hah!
    LUV 2 U /LUV 2 ALL

  • Wisdum

    Re -Larry “Again, my inner child has progeria”
    Progeria – Noun
    1. A rare abnormality marked by premature aging (gray hair and wrinkled skin and stooped posture) in a child.
    Dam ! That’s my problem too…I never grew up ! The doctor said it was due to “Too much wine, women, and song” I have taken some steps to correct this problem…I stoped singing (besides everybody says I suck anyWay !)
    Luv 2 U /LUV 2 ALL

  • Larry Parker

    I actually wrote to Therese off-line because this issue came up.
    I’m not meaning to say Therese’s faith, or anyone’s faith, is effortless. (Ironically, with my constant hemming and hawing, I’m finding lack of faith isn’t effortless, either.)
    Therese, as most of you know, wrote a book called I Like Being Catholic. I simply meant that Therese seems, from my online interactions with her, MEANT to be a devout Catholic, in the way that Tiger Woods (no matter how his dad nudged him) was MEANT to be a champion golfer.
    (Has anyone else googled Therese’s name and her number of Catholic-oriented publications? She is truly a prolific author.)
    It doesn’t mean that Tiger isn’t out on the practice range and the putting green every single day — for hours. Just as Therese said in her video today she struggles with faith (particularly with her depression) but has rededicated herself for her family’s sake and her own.
    If you prefer it in non-religious terms, I believe Stephen Covey called it “sharpening the saw.” But the saw is still a saw — you can’t change its essence.

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