Out of the Mouth of Babes


As a child advocate lawyer for 30 years, I always espoused ‘listen to the little children.’ The simple wisdom, truth, honest observations, and humor of children serves a guiding light for hardened and cynical adults. I learned this lesson first hand, yet again.

Last week it was time to risk it and bring my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter, Emily Mary to morning mass. Saturday 8:00 Morning mass at St. Mary’s is well attended with over 100 mass goers. This time, we wouldn’t sit in the basement crying room watching the mass on a flat screen TV, rather we would venture bravely into Church sitting close to the altar. I hoped that proximity to the action on the altar would keep her transfixed and quiet.

Before we entered church, I did what every grand parent who wants a well behaved child in church, I bribed Emily with breakfast at her favorite restaurant if she was silent throughout Mass. I also promised (bribed) her that she could light a candle (press the button to the electric candle) at the statue of the Blessed Mother if she didn’t talk in Church.

We made it through the homily, without a peep from Emily, so far so good. At the Offertory I saw her eyeing my Magnificat missal and sure enough, she asked to look at it. She was quiet, but madly turning through the paper thin pages of the Magnificat. Next, I thought she will ask for crayons to color my missal. At this point, I would give her anything, just to keep her quiet during the consecration. And then it happened….

All of a sudden, I heard her bellow out, viva voce, “I found Jesus!” Then she yelled it again, “I found Jesus.” I turned to her and she was showing me a photo in the back of the Magnificat which showed a painting of Jesus. She was pointing proudly to Jesus with a huge smile on her face. I hadn’t realized that as she was frantically turning the pages, she was hoping to find a picture of Jesus. That was her intent all along, to see Jesus among the pages of indiscernible words. Emily was so proud and so happy with herself for finding Jesus. She immediately settled down and was quiet for the remainder of Mass.

This touching moment with my grand daughter reminded me of the search that so many of us embark on. As Emily hurried through the pages of the little missalette, I am reminded of humanity’s frenzied search for meaning. We tear through life, frantically looking for satisfaction, while not realizing that we simply need Christ’s peace. As only a toddler can understand and pointed out so innocently, Jesus is found in the daily reading of the Word of God.

As promised, Emily Mary lit a candle at the statue of the Blessed Mother. I heard her whisper as she knelt at the kneeler, “I love you Jesus.”

Out of the mouth of babes.

ArticleLara Barger