Contemplative Corner – “Let the little children come to me.” 

“Let the little children come to me.”            Mark 10:13

One of Jesus’s favorite examples of humility was a child. When the disciples were tempted to get into their heads and religious smugness, Jesus brought a child in front of them.

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Mt. 18:1-5).

Every time the disciples are discussing topics that lend themselves to heady, ideological discussions, Jesus counsels them to take on the humble mind and heart of a child, the “beginners mind.”

Jesus says the only people who can recognize and be ready for what he’s teaching are the ones who come with the mind and heart of a child. Children are open to learn, trust and wonder. The older we get, the more we’ve been betrayed, hurt and disappointed, the more barriers we put up. We begin moving further away from the immediate delight and curiosity of small children. We must never presume that we “know,” but always be ready to see anew, embracing trust and faith like a child. But it’s so hard to go back, to be vulnerable, and to say to our soul that “I don’t know anything.” 

We need the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s word and guide us into all truth so that we might truly see (John 16:13).  Spirituality is about seeing. It’s not about earning or achieving. It’s about relationship rather than results or requirements. Once we “truly see,” the rest follows. The true life is lived within us, and we learn to have confidence in the promises of God, so that even when we cannot see, we can say yes to that life. 

We have to pray for the grace of a beginner’s mind so we might love God with a childlike faith. We need to say with the blind man, “I want to see” (Mark 10:51).

Excerpts from Richard Rohr’s Adopting a Beginner’s Mind.