Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Become as Little Children by Regina Madonna Oliver from A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver

Unsplash: Limor Zellemayer

Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.

Matthew 15:30-31 (NRSV)

When Anthony was four years old, he suddenly lost strength in his legs. When he could no longer support himself, his

grandparents purchased a wheeled stroller so that he could get

around using the strength in his arms.

Finally, Anthony was taken to Children's Hospital in Wash­ ington, D.C. The doctors  had to carry him from place to place in the examining room. When the doctors said that they thought Anthony's symptoms indicated muscular dystrophy, the whole family was put immediately on prayer alert. Anthony's grand­ mother, keeping watch with his parents in the hospital waiting room, began imploring the intercession of St. Anthony for little Anthony.

To everyone's astonishment and the doctors' consternation, Anthony suddenly got up from the table, jumped down to the floor, and ran out into the waiting room into his grandmother's lap. It was as if he was inspired to say in action, "Grandma, your prayers have been heard. You and my patron saint prayed for me, and look: Jesus has cured me!"

Now it is thought that Anthony's condition was an early symptom of an inherited, genetic disorder called "familial polypo­sis," which causes cancerous polyps to form in the colon. When he was six, Anthony underwent major surgery for this, which involved the removal of his colon and reconstruction  of his rectum. Amaz­ingly, this little child was consoling his elders as he faced the surgery, assuring them that they didn't need to worry, that every­ thing would be all right.

Anthony talks to God friend-to-friend. In fact, he often gets calls from people requesting that he pray for them. "Why don't

they ask God themselves?" he asked his mother. "Because you have this special friendship with God," his mother explained. "When

you talk to God, people see results in the wonderful things that happen, and so they ask for you to pray with them."

"Oh!" said Anthony, as he ran off to play with his new truck.

Maybe the truth is, Anthony, that some of us have not "become as little children" with our loving God. We need to follow your example of being in constant, simple and natural communica­tion with God whom you know and love as Friend!


Make this your prayer today:

Jesus, I know that you are my friend, my best friend. I want to come to you at every turn of life as friend. Like a child, I want to run to you with my little secrets. I want to trust confidently in your care. Today let me tell you about something that concerns me. Listen, and I will tell you what is in my heart. (Confide  your concern to Jesus who loves you.)


Let the words of this old hymn be your prayer today. Carry them in your heart as you give everything to Jesus in prayer.

What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer.


Ask God to be with you as you look at your own relationship with God. Think about the difference between "being religious" and "being spiritual." Anthony is a normal, natural, all-boy little fellow, · for whom God is very real and personal. Because God is real for

him, Anthony is naturally spiritual. For Anthony, a relationship with God is not about performing religious rites; rather, it's about his personal, intimate relationship with God. Ask God to make you more childlike and more impulsive in your love-response to being greatly loved.


Consider the immensity of the love of God. As you let this be your prayer today, confidently rest in that love.

Isn't the love of Jesus something  wonderful,  wonderful,  wonderful? Isn't the love of Jesus something  wonderful: Praise his holy name!

So high you can't get over it; So low you can't get under it; So wide you can't get out of it!

0 Wonderful Love.


After you locate some gospel passages that tell you Jesus loves you, let this children's hymn be your prayer today:

Jesus loves me, this I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to him belong.

They are weak but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me;

Yes, Jesus loves me; Yes, Jesus loves me,

For the Bible tells me so.


Close your eyes and rest in the warmth of God's loving presence. See Jesus reaching out to you, offering you something. It's a present! Watch yourself take it with delight. Hear Jesus tell you to open it. See yourself removing the ribbon and tearing away the paper. Look at the delight on your own face as you realize what the gift is. What is it? If you can't see it, name it. It is what you most need at this moment. Thank God for the gift he has given you.


Speaking right from your heart, form your own, simple, childlike prayer to Jesus.


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