Maybe this is why Jesus tells us we need to become like little children.
Just one verse each day.
One of the many beautiful things I’ve learned from training to teach Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is that very young children can have profound religious experiences.
Somehow they see things with a clear sense of what really matters and what is inessential. It’s an ability that’s been lost or diminished over time for many of us adults.
And often, they connect with God through deep and real relationships, marked with a fervor and simplicity that adults could only hope to achieve.
It is for these and so many other reasons that I believe Christ told us to “become like little children” (Matthew 18:3).
Recently, my 6-year-old daughter said something that made me think differently about my own relationship with Jesus. I wanted to share it with you, hoping it brings you the joy it brought to me.
After Mass last Sunday, my daughter took her 1-year-old baby sister by the hand and led her outside to play in the enclosed courtyard while my husband and I talked to some friends.
The courtyard has some uneven ground and a slightly steep sidewalk edge, so she kept a close eye on her little toddling sister, holding her by the hand and not leaving her side.
After a few minutes, I worried that my older daughter might want to play without watching the baby, so I called her over and told her she could leave the baby with me.
“Oh no, it’s ok, Mom,” she said. “I like having her with me.”
“Thanks for taking such good care of her,” I said.
“I’m the shepherd and she’s my little sheep,” she said with a smile.
I smiled too, knowing that she was making a reference to the Good Shepherd parable that she knows so well from her time in the atrium.
Then she said, “I love watching her. It’s fun for me. Just like Jesus loves watching me.”
As the two of them scampered off, I stood in awe for a moment, thinking about what I had just heard.
Jesus loves watching me. I don’t think I’d ever thought of it quite that way.
Of course I’ve heard “Jesus loves you” a thousand or more times, as we all have.
But Jesus enjoys being with me? Jesus loves watching over me? Jesus … dare I say … thinks it’s “fun” (or “happy and joyful”) to be with me?
What does that mean if I really believe Jesus delights in and enjoys me? How does that change the way I act, the way I think, the way I pray?
What a beautiful understanding my daughter has of Jesus’ love for her, something she knows even more deeply through her own caring and tender love for her baby sister.
And what a beautiful gift she gave to me, with this simple message that Jesus enjoys and delights in me.
He delights in you, too.