“How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all earth! Your majesty is praised above the heavens; on the lips of children and of babes you have found praise to foil your enemy, to silence the foe and the rebel” (Psalm 8)
How many times we have repeated these beautiful verses so many times in the prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours! How many times have we read and meditated upon them in Sacred Scripture, and then later, by means of an experience which God prepared for us in His loving providence, were able to understand something of their profound meaning.
The lips of children and babes can bring forth wonders… we have evidence of this every Saturday at the Oratory when, after a good game of soccer or some splendid production in the kitchen workshop, or after “fascinating themselves” with their little hands in the seedbed, having enjoyed a delicious snack and run in circles a bit in the hall, everyone comes to the Church for the celebration of the Holy Mass. And this is the highpoint of the apostolic labors every Saturday… and of the whole week: to bring the children to Jesus, or better said, to bring Jesus to the children.
The lips of children and babes… yes, Lord, your name is admirable, as the psalmist says, your name is awesome; your name in the light of the history of salvation was revealed only to some chosen souls. Your name is sacred and fearsome, however, you let it be said today by the mouths of children who, despite their simplicity and weakness, can do great things; and again and again, you are pleased to work great things through the little ones.
The lips of children soften the hardest of hearts and draw close those who are farthest away. We have abundant experience of this: because there have been more than one mother or father who would not step into the Church for years, who now we see returning to the Father’s house, participating the in Holy Mass at the parish, drawn in by the simple faith of these children, their children.
The lips of children and babes, the psalmist sings, silence the foe and the rebel. And in such a way the human arguments against the Sunday Mass, “that it is not necessary”, “that we have a trip or an errand to run here and there”, that “grandpa has come to visit”, “we have so-and-so’s birthday”… all are silenced, as so many parents have testified, by the little one’s protest “but I’m altar server today” or “today I have to a ‘Daughter of Mary’”, they are reduced to silence and make their way toward the church.
The lips of children… it must be recognized: they can bring a smile to the most formal person. And it is of little regard how out of tune their song may be, or how disarrayed their surplice, if the chains of the thurible were so tangled that they could do no more than to grab them all by the hand and keep walking, or if a bit restless he dripped the wax from his candle onto his face… or if they stumbled across the carpet trying to get to the altar… God contemplates it all from His holy heaven with the tenderness of a Father, because He knows that, despite all their mistakes, they put their whole soul into serving at Mass, participating in the Holy Sacrifice with such piety as is rare to find at their age, and they sing – they sing the greatness of God who can work great things through them; because the smallest, least useful and most insignificant of tools shines the greatest in the hand of the Artist.
You could say that each Saturday in the Holy Mass of the oratory, the prodigious marvels of Bethlehem are repeated, God is made known to man in the tenderness and fragility of a child. There was a group of little ones who sought to draw near to Jesus, and there was a group of adults who tried to keep them away, and in the face of this, the Teacher became indignant and proclaimed strongly: Let the little ones come to Me and do not impede them (Lk. 18:16). Wasn’t this a very astute act on His behalf? Because experience has proven that the each child that draws near to Jesus brings with him or her an important entourage of fathers, mothers, brothers, godparents and the like, many of whom, shocked by the way in which God forms these little hearts, little by little allow themselves to be molded as well.
May the Blessed Virgin, by her intercession, obtain for us the graces necessary in order to continue forming these hearts which are soft as wax, and may they never stop proclaiming How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all earth!
Sr. María Virgo Mater
May 3, 2018