Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14

What is this childlike quality to which the Kingdom of Heaven belongs? Without romanticizing or overindulging our children, can we discover what the Master Teacher is referring to? We know children can be cruel on the playground, wholly absorbed in themselves, and developmentally unable to make good decisions. Yet we also know that an infant or toddler can capture and maintain the attention of a whole room full of adults. While we may seek to correct the six- or eight-year-old, we do nothing but encourage the toddler who is just learning to walk. Even in our teenagers, under the hair and attitude, there is a precious possibility that is still unfolding.

Our children love their parents long past the point when some parents deserve it. There is an innocent expectation, a profound faith in a child’s reliance on those around him to provide for his needs, to nurture and love him. In the absence of serious neglect or abuse, our children continually express wonder and awe toward life, love toward others, and an openhearted engagement with life.

Spiritual Contemplation: What childlike qualities cause me to feel I am living in the Kingdom of Heaven? What experience/skepticism/worldly wisdom prevent my living FROM those qualities, thereby keeping me out of the Kingdom of Heaven?

Affirmation: I live my life with an open heart, with awe and wonder at the beauty and mystery of all Life, including the people in my world. I release old stories or hurts that stand between me and my experience of the Kingdom of Heaven.