A simple faith
Recently I’ve been attending Sunday Mass with my sister, her husband, and their two little daughters. One of my nieces is four years old and very curious. My mom has purchased some children’s books about the Mass which explain the different symbols using pictures, and she’s always so invested into it. After Mass, she insists on visiting every single statue in our parish, knowing the names of the people, asking him or her to pray for her and her family. Finally, we end up at the Holy Family statue. She lights a candle and gently walks backwards, eyes always on the simple statue. I ask her, “Do you want to say a prayer?” And her prayer, without fail, is always, “I want to pray for my family.”
Anything a four-year-old does regarding Jesus is adorable, and awe-inspiring, right? I mean, she doesn’t understand the complexities of her faith yet, the awesomeness of what’s happening on the altar during the consecration at Mass, nor even the interworking of asking saints and Our Lady for their intercession. She just very simply asks God to watch over her family, as if that’s the most natural thing in the world to ask for. And she has no doubt that God will do just that.
It’s amazing how much a four-year-old can teach me about simplistic holiness. Now that I’m in my 30s and have years of experienced relationship with God, it’s very easy for me to forget that childish awe and wonder. I think for most adults, we complicate holiness way too much. We put a lot of limitations on God because we view Him through our human eyes instead of seeing Him as the King of the Universe, Creator of All, the Alpha and the Omega. I believe holiness is so simple: Love God with everything you have, love people, and then go live your life. If you do those things in that order, I don’t think you can go wrong.
Recently, I’ve been captivated by different saints’ stories, especially Blessed Solanus Casey. Bl. Solanus, a Capuchin friar, lived in Detroit, Michigan for the majority of his life and his main job in the friary was the porter, or doorkeeper. He would welcome visitors to the friary every single day through the front door. He was known for being completely present to the person in front of him, his kindness, and mostly for the many miracles that surrounded him. Healing miracles started taking place and his superior ordered him to start writing down what happened with each person. Bl. Solanus was obedient and started making quick notes in a notebook with the date, name of the person, and a very short description of what happened. After Bl. Solanus died in 1957, there were over seven volumes of miracles, both healing and spiritual, that had taken place.
Bl. Solanus was not allowed to hear confessions nor preach on doctrinal issues because of his grades in seminary: they weren’t high enough. Hence his position as the doorkeeper. His humble, gentle life was largely unknown except for the surrounding area of people who honored and celebrated him. When I visited his friary, I was moved by the simplicity of Bl. Solanus’ life. He just loved God with everything he had, he loved people, and he was obedient to the daily duties of his life. And look how God used him!
I want that kind of faith. I want that kind of love for people. I want to be that example that you don’t need a Ph.D. in theology to love God or people. You just start.
May we all learn what it means to have the faith of a child who believes that our Father is a good Father who wants to love us and give us good things. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3).