Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Daddy, Why Don't Some People Love God?"

Before praying the Rosary tonight, Josefina looked at me and asked me in a very earnest way, "Daddy, why don't some people love God?"


How do I answer that question? She looked at me with eyes that seemed to say that there was simply no possible reason why anyone would not love God. I stammered, "well...I think some people are afraid of God...and...um...some people don't know that God loves them...and...."

I believe in answering a child's question even if I don't think they are going to be able to really "get" the answer. I thank God that my four year old child has no experience from which to draw even the most rudimentary concepts of this; I said to her: "Some people don't love God because they are bad...."

Josefina didn't understand, and, like four year olds do, she changed the subject.

And I was struck by something. This lack of comprehension was not simply ignorance; it was a ray of the splendor of innocence and simplicity, shining from the pre-dawn light of an intelligence--the image of God--just as it begins to appear on the horizon of a human life, reason in its original openness. Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

I cannot find a way to explain evil to a four year old, because evil makes no sense. There is no real "reason" why some people don't love God; there is only a lack of reason, a failure of freedom, a turning away from truth and goodness.

Lord, nurture the innocence of children, that it might mature into wisdom. And grant us wisdom, that we might be renewed in the innocence you won for us.