Follow the Child: Become “Masters at Rejoicing”

by Apr 5, 2021

Christ is risen!

The Light of the risen Christ has conquered death and will shine forever!

Many of us will proclaim these words again and again this Easter season to the young children in our families and our atria. Through formal and informal presentations, we’ll begin to sing the great “Alleluia!” that accompanies this most sacred season.

We’ve just remembered the Passion of our dear Lord; His final exhalation of suffering, giving the fullest gift of Himself on the Cross. We’ve waited patiently, silently (unless you’re living with little ones…) and have reflected upon the holiest of Saturdays when Jesus gathers the righteous in Sheol. And now, the moment of all moments has arrived! We gather our voices as one, throughout history, to sing that great and powerful “Alleluia!” Jesus has won.

As the Paschal candle is lit, what do you find resounding in your heart? As the light spreads throughout the darkened room, how is the Holy Spirit prompting you to respond? Do our hearts cry out in praise and rejoicing for the Living God? Do we pause and silently wonder what this great mystery means in our lives? Are we consumed by the richness and beauty that surrounds us in Holy Mother Church?

Twice in the book of Judges, the tribe of Judah is told to “go up first” into battle against both the Canaanites and the Benjaminites. Not only was the tribe of Judah the largest tribe, but the Hebrew ‘Yehuda’ (Judah) means praise. This is no coincidence! God reveals to us through Scripture that praise is to “go up first” before Him, even when faced with mighty battles and tribulation. It is here that we may best learn from the children in our lives.

As the authors state in A Joyful Journey, young children are “masters at rejoicing.” They just get it! They respond to the greatest mysteries with “delight, praise and thanksgiving.” They are fully living this beautiful relationship with the Good Shepherd. They don’t just hear the story proclaimed, they believe and know that they are a part of the story. St. Paul writes to the Thessolonians saying, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.”

Whoa. To give thanks and praise in all circumstances! Not just those that are pleasant and going the way we’d hoped. Not just those that are beautiful and photo worthy. All circumstances. Sofia and Gianna believed that the youngest child holds the secret to unlocking this heart of thanksgiving and rejoicing that St. Paul urges us to have.

Let us open ourselves to believing it too by following the child! Let’s challenge ourselves this Easter season to abandon our hearts into Jesus’ loving hands and let our praise go up first before Him. Let’s ask for His forgiveness to be in us when we are unable to forgive on our own. Let’s allow the child to show us the way to the Heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd and let us respond by astute observation and a deeper respect for the faith lives of the children in our care. If we allow the child’s witness to permeate our own spiritual lives we just might become “masters at rejoicing.” And who knows, that just might be contagious!

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