Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wisdom in the Young

Psalm 8:1-2 states:
O Lord, our Sovereign,
     how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
     Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have found a bulwark because of your foes,
     to silence the enemy and the avenger.

There was a reason that Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs." (Matt 19:14)  Jesus recognized that there is much to learn from young people.  As Psalm 8 suggests, "out of the mouth of babes and infants" there is much wisdom and much insight.

This past week we hosted an event focused on Mary, our Mother in faith.  Several paintings were used to help explain our understanding of our Blessed Mother.  At one point during the presentation I showed these two pictures: one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the other the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  They are complementary.

 If you look at the heart of Jesus you notice a few things.  His heart is on fire.  His heart is wounded.  There is a cross on top of the heart.  Mary's heart corresponds.  It is on fire.  It is wounded, by a sword. (Luke 2:35)  And there are roses where Jesus has thorns.

I had shown these pictures, and others, to the young middle schoolers.  Someone asked me a question: What was the meaning of the flowers on Mary's heart?  I scanned the room for priests who had a knowing look on their faces.  None.  Before hazarding a guess, I asked the young people what they thought.  An intrepid young man immediately put his hand up and answered, "Jesus' heart has thorns.  We know that roses have thorns on their stems.  Is that why?"  At that moment it all became clear.

Jesus died for our sins.  The cross, the thorns, the wounds are all there out of love.  He is wounded because he loves.  The fruits of this love, the effect of this love shows itself in the life of Mary.  Although she suffered because Jesus suffered, evidenced by the sword, she was also the first benefit of the merits of her Son.  She was full of grace.  The blooming roses show us that the suffering of Jesus (thorns) lead to our salvation.  The immaculate heart of Mary corresponds to the suffering heart of Jesus.  Our hearts should do the same.  And, in so doing, we too will experience the suffering of Jesus (sword) but also the glory and healing of the resurrection (blooming flowers).

This was the revelation that came to me from the lips of a young man who was able to see the wisdom in these paintings.  I know I have to be reminded again and again, but there is a simplicity, a wisdom that comes from young people who are often more connected to the obvious than some of us older people.  Jesus took young people seriously.  They are conduits of God's revelation.  Let us strive to remember this always.

by Fr. Frank Portelli