I walked into the sanctuary of my parish on a recent Sunday morning surprised to see the pews overflowing with people. Unsure what could warrant such a drastic increase in church attendance, I genuflected and made my way into the pew. As I lowered the kneeler, my gaze drifted to the choir area. Instead of the usual five-person ensemble, I saw dozens of elementary-school aged children dressed in green plaid uniforms smiling back at me with bright eyes. I soon learned that their proud parents crowded this particular Mass to hear their children sing.
I couldn’t help but smile through the service as the enthusiastic group led the parish in song, many times accompanied by choreographed hand movements or clapping. Their energy radiated through the sanctuary as they sang the contemporary Christian song, “Lord, I Lift Your Name On High.” Their pure, joyful voices conveyed such an innocent, all-encompassing love for God that I drove home an hour later wondering why we as adults struggle to display such uninhibited faith.
As children, we’re free of the worries of the world. Finances, job security, politics and real family issues have little bearing on our daily lives, much less our faith. As adults, we face physical, emotional and spiritual trials that can shake us to our very core and cause us to question our purpose and God’s love for us. It’s easy to show love for God when life is simple, but it’s more challenging to remain faithful when life does not unfold as we hope.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
As Catholics, we are called to a child-like faith—one that is pure and true, no matter what obstacles stand in our way. We must abandon the worries and stress of this world that threaten to overtake our hope in Christ, so that we, too, can be like the children singing proudly at Mass. Their faith was real and tangible to them because they knew nothing else. To them, God is love, and He always provides.
If you’ve lost that child-like faith along the way, it’s never too late. Volunteer at your local Catholic school or spend time with a niece or nephew, and you will soon be reminded why Jesus says that the kingdom of God belongs to the children of this world.
Cultivate a child-life faith, and you will be richly blessed in return.