“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).
The other day one of my sisters – who keeps chickens – sent me an early morning text message with a photo of feathers and a sad face emoji. A fox had got into their yard and had eaten one of their chicken during the night. And it was a sad day for their family – because the children loved all those chickens and did not want to lose even one chook!
I have been reflecting on that poor lost chicken and the nasty little fox for some time now.
You see the chicken is pretty much like us, and the fox like the Evil One.
But there are differences in the story of course… You see, God looks after all our souls and not a single soul is lost through the inattention of God. And that makes quite a big difference…
You see, when my sister and her family went to sleep that fateful night of the lost-chicken, they had made a fateful error. They had forgotten to lock the chicken coop for the night! Now that was a serious mistake. You see, the chickens had never been attacked before, so the family could be forgiven for thinking that they would be safe on that night as well. But on that night, something evil came into the yard and the chickens were unable to find safety in the coop when the fox came in.
Lucky for us God never forgets to lock us into our coop to keep us safe. That is why we have the sacraments and that is why He continually affords us Grace through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the greater the problem that we encounter, the greater the grace that we receive.
But that is not all… You see my sister’s family also have a border collie pup. Their little dog is not very well-trained yet and so she cannot be allowed to roam freely all over their property, and instead, she is usually tied up or fenced in during the night to prevent her running away to the neighbours or hunting the chickens herself. But God is not like this with us. You see, that puppy dog really represents the Church. And though the Church is fallible, through the action of the Holy Spirit it receives all the “training” that it needs to endure through the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
And so this means that if this story were in fact about God and our souls rather than a chicken and a fox, we would soon realise that God does not leave His Church untrained… That is why we meditate upon the decent of the Holy Spirit as the third Glorious Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary… Because the Holy Spirit descended to guide us until the fullness of time…
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-4).
And the fox – that fox that only has power over the chickens if it is let in… You see – unlike my sister and her family – God NEVER forgets to lock us safely into the coop for our protection. This means that the only way that the coop can be opened and we can be exposed to the dangers of the Evil One is if we were to open it ourselves… And – sadly – we do very often open it. In fact we open that coop every single time we sin.
It is the action of sin that invites what is evil into our soul and simultaneously rejects the INFINITE PERFECT GOODNESS of God.
And this is why our formation in Faith is so important. Because if we truly understood the love and goodness of the Lord our God, we would never open the coop again. Instead, we would bow down and submit ourselves to His holy will like little children obeying their parents – for “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).
And it does not take much – just a submission of the will – to become a child “such as these”.
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.