Seven months ago my wife, Sharon, and I received another one of God’s many blessings, the birth of our great-niece, Veda (the name came from the movie “My Girl”). Sharon babysits Veda every day, and usually a couple times a week I get to spend some time with her. Seeing Veda reminds me of the time when our three children were infants and we watched them grow, develop and mature into loving, caring adults.
Seeing the expression on Veda’s face as she experiences new things is fun to watch, and her priceless reactions draw me into wanting to watch her experience more new things. I have a front-row seat to a truly childlike response to the awe and wonder of God’s creation. But, I am not the only one. Everyone in the family is drawn in by the love for this little baby and in turn, the love we have for each of our family members.
So, here’s another one of those paradoxes of our Catholic faith — as we grow and mature in our faith, we actually become more childlike in our recognition of the awe and wonder of God. Things become more clear and simple, not as fuzzy and complex as adults make them out to be. Our grudges give way to forgiveness, our cynicism turns to charity, our pride to humility, our doubts to trust, our fear to hope, our anger to peace and our differences to love.
I am reminded of Matthew’s Gospel: “(Jesus) called a child over, placed it in their midst and said, ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like a child, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”
When we let go of looking inward on our own self-centeredness and self-pity, we begin to look outward to see God’s active presence in our daily life. We notice the many miracles that occur. We see the awe and wonder of God and begin to recognize all the gifts that He has given us. Our hearts become filled with gratitude and overflow with generosity.
Do you want to experience the awe and wonder of God? Start paying attention to the people God has put in your life, especially the little ones. We can learn a lot from them.
Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at Mary, Mother of the Church in south St. Louis County. He can be reached at (314) 792-7215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.