The Gospel today is an invitation to a more uncomplicated relationship with God. We have all returned to times as a child when all seemed simpler and easier. While this may not be true of all childhoods, I can certainly return to mine and see it was a time with fewer distractions than my teenage years.
As someone who has been involved in ministry with children and having four of my own, and through the grace of God, nine grandchildren, I often look at things through their lens. But, while there are benefits of being childlike, there are also complications.
You must follow the guidelines/rules of others; life is pretty structured without much “downtime” included, and of course, we are ALWAYS relying on someone else to get us where we need to go. However, when I look back on my faith life, there was much to be pleased about as a child. While I learned about my faith through the strict governance of the Dominican nuns at my elementary school, and an Irish priest who dispensed his own, unique form of ministry, I was, for the most part, surrounded by love. It was love with strings attached for sure, but it was love. They cared for me and even more for my soul. I can still hear the words, “ for what does it matter if you suffer the loss of your soul …”
This lament, even though I did not really know what it meant, it started me out on a journey as a child. A journey to discover this invisible but essential part of me, my soul!
I wonder what your experience of this inner search for your soul, its content, character, how it looked affected your faith? How does it affect your faith today? Have you come to terms with what your soul is today? How would you describe its condition? Excellent? Slightly used? Low mileage? Never been wrecked?
Taking a journey back to those early days may help you find some answers. To this childlike repose, Jesus invites us all. After all, we use the words “soul-searching” often. But what does it mean to us?
Michael Cunningham, OFS, is the Director and CEO of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California.