Unless you turn and become like children

Recently a friend of mine was recounting his experiences while on a mission to serve the poor in Peru. He was struck by the generosity of the people who, while having so little of their own, were always attempting to give some of what they did have, to others. Without wealth or power, they gave of themselves, with great joy and humility.

When asked “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven” Jesus said “…unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

The singer and songwriter, Mac Davis, once wrote “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way…” Of course the song was meant to be humorous but it all too often hits close to home. For many it is hard to be humble, to see ourselves as vulnerable, willing to give all that we have for the sake of those who have less or need more.

Growing up in a small mid-western farming community, I never realized, until much later in life, that my family was poor. My parents raised eleven children, spread across 22 years. We wore hand-me-down clothes, many hand-made by my mother. We played with trains made from tuna cans connected with string, homemade wooden toys that my father crafted from discarded crates, and dolls stuffed with cotton batting that my mother lovingly sewed together. Every summer we would plant, harvest, and can a huge garden. There was very little money but always a lot of joy and thanks to God for the bounty that we had received. Even with so little, my parents were always opening their hearts to help others, donating time and treasure to bring light to those who were less fortunate. It was pure love that fed and nourished them, and they gave it back in spades.

In reading the article by Siobhan McAndrew in last Sunday’s paper which spoke of Wynilou Cavilia, I could not help but remember my parents and the similarities. My memories of Winnie are more recent than perhaps many but are filled with visions of grace, love, humility, and joy. She always had a smile on her face and an aura of humility that spoke volumes.

It is interesting to note that so many who desire fame and fortune and work so diligently to achieve it are so quickly forgotten. It is often those who spent their lives in the shadow of those less fortunate, giving themselves to others, who achieve the greatest immortality. They are the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven and they will see God.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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