Out of the mouths of babes
The first grader stood before a statue of the Immaculate Conception with her parish priest. She asked Father: Do you know what that (the Immaculate Conception) means?
“Yes, I know what it means.” he replied.
“Tell me what it means.”
He gave the proper Catholic definition: “The Blessed Mother was conceived by the power of God, free of original sin, in her mother's womb. She grew inside her mother for nine months. No sin. A year, 2, 3, 5 and a half, all her life she was sinless. That's why the devil had no power over her.”
“That's not what God told me.” the girl responded. “Really? What did God tell you?”
“God said that we are all the body of Christ, and the lowest member of the body is the heel. Because Mary is the lowest and most humble, she could crush the head of proud satan.”
Kids come up with the most amazing things.
Dare to be Docile
And He said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
This is the answer Jesus gave to his disciples' question: Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? They were probably expecting an answer like Moses, or Elijah, or David. Instead Jesus points out the children, the kids that the disciples were always trying to shoo away. They are the ones who will be the greatest...because they are ready and willing to be taught. Unlike the men who were trying to figure out how to have the biggest heavenly crown.
Docility is the willingness to be taught, the acknowledgment that maybe I don't already know everything. It is rooted in humility and self knowledge. In order to learn, we must first be willing to be taught. Once we are taught, we can begin to understand. Once we understand, we can act on our knowledge. As we remain open to the Holy Spirit, He continues to reveal Himself to us. Because adults often are unwilling to learn, children can seem the likeliest candidates for heavenly inspirations.
The Children of Fatima
In earlier centuries the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to priests, religious and other adults, giving them messages for the Church. In recent years she has appeared to children. Three of the most well known and beloved of those children are Jacinta Marco, Francisco Marto and Lucia Santos of Fatima, Portugal. Many articles have been written about their heroic virtues and mighty mortifications. This will simply focus on their docility: their willingness to learn, their understanding and their actions in response to Our Lady's messages.
The heavenly tutoring of the Fatima children began in 1916 with three visitations of the Guardian Angel of Portugal. He prepared them for the future visits of Our Lady by teaching them prayers of adoration and reparation, the need for sacrifice and the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. In the third apparition he carried a chalice and host, giving the children communion. When he appeared the children immediately knelt and began the prayer he had taught them. According to Lucia, they were gifted with an profound understanding of the Trinity. “The Angel's words sank deeply into our souls like a gleaming torch, showing us Who God is, what is His love for us, and how He wants us to love Him too; the value of sacrifice and how it pleases Him; how He receives it for the conversion of sinners. That is why from that moment we began to offer Him whatever mortified us.” www.ewtn.com/fatima/second-apparition-of-the-angel.asp
Lucia's words show in a few sentences the progress of docility from willingness to understanding to action. As Our Lady appeared and began instructing them, the children acted on her lessons. They recited the rosary and did many penances. Some of these penances were quite dramatic: giving away lunches, refusing to drink water when thirsty, eating bitter roots, wearing a knotted rope and remaining prostrate for hours while reciting the angel's prayers. Family members and friends refused to believe the story. They were mocked and accused of lying.. At ten, nine and seven years old, the three children were put in jail with adult criminals, threatened and interrogated by police. Jacinta and Francisco both suffered much before dying of influenza. All three children accepted these sufferings because they understood their merit. They offered them to God for the conversion of sinners and peace in the world.
The story of Fatima
“Because Mary is the lowest and most humble, she could crush the head of proud satan.” Monsignor John Essef, “Mary the Mother of God” http://www.flameoflove.us/2017-flame-love-videos/
Accepting the call to the priesthood
The truth about confession
Sometimes kids are wiser than grownups. They can teach us important life lessons. Here are a few things the Fatima children taught the adults around them.
Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco were interrogated by the police and put in jail. They decided to pray the rosary together, even though they were surrounded by criminals. One inmate was wearing his hat, and this prompted Francisco to say: “When you pray, you should take your hat off.” www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2010/03/blessed-francisco-marto-of-fatima.html?m=1
When someone would do something improper in front of Jacinta, she would say: Do not do this because you offend Our Lord, and He is already much offended.” www.tfp.org/heroic-virtues-jacinta-francisco/
One day Francisco's mother told him to take their sheep to his Godmother's pasture to graze because she wasn't home and wouldn't know. He refused to do it. When she slapped him, he asked “Is my mother teaching me to steal?” www.tfp.org/heroic-virtues-jacinta-francisco/
When Jacinta was dying in the hospital, she often said startling things to the nurses. Once she said this about doctors who don't believe in God: “Poor Men! With all their science they hardly know what awaits them!” www.tfp.org/heroic-virtues-jacinta-francisco/