But Moses said to God,
"Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh
and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
God answered: I will be with you; and this will be your sign that I have sent you.
When you have brought the people out of Egypt,
you will serve God at this mountain.
“But,” said Moses to God,
“if I go to the Israelites and say to them,
‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’
and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what do I tell them?”
God replied to Moses: I am who I am.
Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites:
I AM has sent me to you."
At that time Jesus exclaimed:
"I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Do we really want to be like children?
Man, I really don't. 99% of the my motivations as I go through each day are in reference to someone else: "I want to be liked by them, I want to be at peace with them, I want them to change, I want to be respected by them." So much of my life is lived not in the sight of God but in the sight of the men and women around me.
So when I read today's Gospel, the verses written above really hit me hard. Which do I want to be, "wise and learned" or "childlike"? The answer was painfully easy to come by. What does that say about my heart? Simply, I value the things that I want more than I value what God desires. Pride and rebellion mark my day, even in so many of its simplest moments and actions. My guiding purpose, my true north, are not as guiding and true as I thought.
So how do we become like children? Not through thinking less of ourselves. Some of my favorite little friends from preschool really and truly believed they could fly above the rooftops of Brooklyn Heights if they wanted to. Instead, it is about total dependence on our Father. At some point in life, a healthy soul will make the (incredibly difficult) transition from reliance on their earthly parents/caregivers to reliance on our heavenly Father. That is my goal for my infant son. To lead him in this direction though, I need to want to be childlike myself.
To change, I need to steep myself in Scripture, to make time for prayer, to practice mindfulness throughout the day so that I may offer my every action to the Spirit's guidance. The paradoxes of Christian life strikes again: only when I truly desire to pursue Jesus with every action in the day will I be great. Only when I want nothing more than to be childlike before the Lord will I become wise and learned.
Praised be Jesus Christ, our True North.
P.S. Here's a clip with some relevant, unbiblical wisdom, as explained by Tom Waits in a movie I enjoy. Don't judge it by its cover/title. Or do, your choice.