I PRAISE YOU, FATHER, LORD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, FOR YOU HAVE HIDDEN THESE THINGS FROM THE WISE AND PRUDENT AND HAVE REVEALED THEM TO LITTLE CHILDREN. How many of the problems concerning the meaning of life would disappear if we were thoroughly imbued with this fundamental principle of wisdom revealed by the Lord himself. Jesus, the Evangelist Luke informs us, revealed this truth in a moment of exultant joy upon hearing the report of the disciples he first sent out on mission. The Lord was ravished in Spirit by the insight this manner of acting gives into the mind and heart of the heavenly Father and wished to share his joy with those whom he had chosen. They are more privileged than they realize, and he wishes to make them, and those of us whom he has chosen to follow after them, conscious of the magnitude of their blessings. Accordingly he goes on to proclaim to them: "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! I say to you that many prophets and kings have wanted to see what you now see and have not seen it, to hear what you hear and have not heard it."
Jesus knew himself as being above all else a son. His happiness consisted in doing the will of the Father. He possessed nothing of himself apart from what he received from the Father. Even the very words that arose in his heart and mind he realized came to him in the first place from the Father: "The words that I speak to you I do not speak of myself. The Father who is dwelling in me he does the works."(John 14: 10). In Jesus' language the same word, davar, means word and work. Here he infers that both his words and his works are primarily the gift of his Father.
What he communicates to his followers here is the surprising truth that it is their very simplicity, their trusting childlike acceptance of his person that has qualified them to be recipients of the Father's revelation. They are more blessed than prophets and kings because it has pleased the Father to choose those who, like Jesus himself, are actuated by concern for pleasing the Father. They possess a high dignity, incomparably greater than the privileged of this world, not through ambition, nor because of their learning, power or influence, but, paradoxically, because God prefers the simple-hearted, those who approach him with the confident trust and love of children.
Here we touch on one of the most challenging mysteries of the human condition, namely, God's free choice in allotting his favors to mortal men. How much of life depends on factors beyond our personal control! Even the wise and prudent of this world acknowledge the often decisive role of what they call "fate", "luck", "fortune" or "chance", and what we acknowledge as being God's Providence. How many elements that could have been decisive in the current presidential election, to mention only the most conspicuous contemporary instance, are discovered every day to have been beyond human calculation and planning in spite of all the attempts of both parties to control the result. Why are some persons so fortunate spiritually, so blessed in their personal lives? Even suffering does not cause them to be unhappy,so firmly anchored in their soul is the grace and light of God. At the same time so many others remain confused, unhappy, even miserable in spite of their many advantages and when suffering comes upon them they are quickly desolate, depressed, even despairing? The only satisfactory answer to these and similar mysteries is here provided by Jesus' revelation that "thus it is pleasing in your sight, Father."
God is our Father, almighty and loving to the point of giving his only Son to suffer and die on our behalf, so that we in turn might receive the grace of being his children in all truth. By the very fact of placing our faith in these words of Jesus today and living according to his teaching with the loving trust and confidence of little children, we can have the assurance of being members of the Father's household. Jesus, the beloved Son, comes to us in this Eucharist to confirm this grace in us, and as a pledge that we have truly been chosen by God to be one with Him in his beloved Son. May each of us be strengthened in this conviction today at this altar so that we prove more faithful to his teaching and commandments, and thus be worthy of our call as children of the heavenly Father, destined to live with Him for all eternity.
Abbot John Eudes Bamberger
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