The following extract is taken from ‘Delight in the Lord’, notes of Spiritual Direction and Exhortation by Rev Daniel Considine S.J. , published in 1925 by Burns, Oates, & Washbourne Ltd.
The article is taken from a Retreat given by Father Considine to I think cloistered nuns, but his deeply spiritual exhortations surely apply to us all.
‘The world is utterly mistaken when it thinks of the service of God as dull and gloomy. It is a service most full of joy. God tells us we are to “delight in the Lord,” and he never tells us to do what is impossible. When Our Lord was on Earth , he was not morose or hard to please; he was the most delightful of companions. We can see this from the Gospels. He could not get the crowds to leave him alone. They thronged him on every side so that he had not so much as time to eat. His disciples were perfectly happy in his society and wanted nothing else. …………’
'Christ with children' by Carl H Bloch
‘When the Apostles wanted to know who were the great ones in God’s Kingdom, Our Lord set before them as the model of the highest sanctity, a little child.
If you want to please Our Lord and to be very near to him, take him completely at his word, as he meant to be taken, and be really as a little child with him and with others.
1. Little children are simple and direct. They say exactly what they think without pose or affectation. Do you say things exactly as they are to God? He loves straightforwardness and simplicity. So if you have done wrong tell him so – own up simply and courageously, like a trusting child, and he will love you all the more for it. Don’t be making excuses or finding reasons to palliate your fault.
2. Little children are perfectly confiding and trustful. They believe whatever you tell them and expect you to keep your promises. So believe in Our Lord as a little child believes in its father and mother. Look upon him as absolutely and infinitely wise, powerful and loving, as indeed he is, and expect from him all sorts of wonderful surprises and you will get them. Believe firmly that he will keep his promises, and you will see their fulfilment.
3. A little child does not attempt to provide for itself – has no anxious foresight. So lean on God and look to him for everything. Don’t trust in your own strength or wisdom or judgement any more than a tiny child does, but say, “The Lord rules me, and I shall want for nothing.”
4. Little children obey unquestioningly and don’t expect to understand everything. So be pliable in the hands of God, following his appointments without attempting to understand them. Go trustfully wherever he leads you. Don’t arrange things for yourself, but let him fashion your life and make you holy in his own way.
5. Little children recover quickly from their faults and their other troubles. When they do wrong and are reprimanded, they kiss their father and mother, and a minute later they have forgotten all about it and are quite at their ease with them. So never have any misgivings about God’s forgiveness, his tenderness, his love. Recover quickly from your faults. Tell Our Lord you are sorry, and then forget all about it and go on as if nothing had happened. Little children never worry themselves wondering if their parents will ever be the same towards them again, whether they will love and take care of them as much as before. Such doubts never enter their heads. They take their forgiveness as a matter of course, and it only serves to make their loving relations with their parents stronger and more intimate than ever.
6. Little children run to their parents in all their troubles and fears – and confide in them and look to them to put everything right. Never be so foolish as to imagine that any difficulty of character or circumstances, or any mistake you have made, is beyond the goodness and wisdom and power of your heavenly Father. God is ten thousand times more willing to help you than you are to be helped. But you must make it possible by trusting him.
7. Little children are open-hearted and affectionate, and if their baby caresses and words of love are a joy to their parents, so are our affectionate words and thoughts pleasing to our most loving and tender-hearted Lord.
8. Little children are affectionate and friendly to all. They are without suspicion or guile. Everyone is a friend to them. They have no ulterior motives- but are frank and open-hearted – so ought we to be with others.
9. Little children are joyous and easily pleased – full of wonderment, fresh and happy. So let us be happy and delighted with God’s wonderful love and the magnificent gifts he gives us, and rejoice in his service like loving children.
If our love were but more simple
We should take him at his word
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of Our Lord.
10. Little children are not critical. They accept circumstances and people unquestioningly, because they know no better. Everything seems all right to them. If only we could be content to look with their trustful, uncritical gaze on everything which it is not our direct duty to attend to, knowing that God is overall, that he is wiser and more powerful than we can understand, and that he can be trusted with the management of his own creation.’
‘Come, ye monarchs and emperors, come, all ye princes of the world, come and adore your highest King, who for love of you is now born, and born in such poverty in a cave. But who appears? No one. The Son of God has indeed come into the world; but the world will not acknowledge him.’
‘Thoughts from St Alphonsus’ by Rev C McNeiry C.SS.R.’
"Wishing one and all a very blessed and happy New Year"