852 Try to know the “way of spiritual childhood” without forcing yourself to follow this path. Let the Holy Spirit work in you.
853 Way of childhood. Abandonment. Spiritual infancy. All this is not utter nonsense, but a sturdy and solid Christian life.
854 In the spiritual life of childhood the things “children” say or do are never puerile or childish.
855 Spiritual childhood is not spiritual foolishness or flabbiness; it is a sane and forceful way which, due to its difficult easiness, the soul must begin and continue, led by the hand of God.
856 Spiritual childhood demands submission of the mind, more difficult than submission of the will. In order to subject our mind we need not only God’s grace, but also the continual exercise of our will, which says “no” again and again, just as it says no to the flesh. And so we get the paradox that whoever wants to follow this “little” way in order to become a child, needs to add strength and virility to his will.
857 Be a little child; the greatest daring is always that of children. Who cries for... the moon? Who is blind to dangers in getting what he wants?
To such a child add much grace from God, the desire to do his Will, great love for Jesus, all the human knowledge he is capable of acquiring, and you will have a likeness of the apostles of today such as God undoubtedly wants them.
858 Be a child. Even more so. But don’t stop at the show-off age: have you ever seen anything more silly than the little fellow playing the man, or a grown man acting like a baby?
A child, with God: and just because of that, very much a man in everything else. Ah! and drop those lapdog manners.
859 Sometimes we feel inclined to act as little children. What we do then has a wonderful value in God’s eyes and, so long as we don’t let routine creep in, our “little” actions will indeed be fruitful with the unfailing fruitfulness of Love.
860 Before God, who is eternal, you are much more a child than, before you, a two-year-old toddler. Besides being a child, you are a child of God. Don’t forget it.
861 Child, enkindle in your heart an ardent desire to make up for the excesses of your grown-up life.
862 Silly child, the day you hide some part of your soul from your Director, you will cease to be a child, for you will have lost your simplicity.
863 Child, when you really are one, you will be all-powerful.
864 Being children you will have no cares: children quickly forget what troubles them and return to their games. With abandonment, therefore, you will not have to worry, since you will rest in the Father.
865 Child, each day offer him... even your frailties.
866 Good child: offer him the work of those labourers who do not know him; offer him the natural joy of those poor little ones who are brought up in pagan schools.
867 Children have nothing of their own, everything belongs to their father..., and your Father always knows best how to manage your affairs.
868 Be small, very small. No more than two years old, three at the most. For older children are little rascals who already want to deceive their parents with barefaced lies.
It is because they have the inclination to sin - fomes peccati - but they lack the experience of evil, which will teach them the science of sinning and show them how to lend an appearance of truth to the falseness of their deceits.
They have lost their simplicity, and without simplicity it is impossible to be a child before God.
869 But child, why do you insist on walking on stilts?
870 Don’t try to be grown-up. A child, always a child, even when you are dying of old-age. When a child stumbles and falls, nobody is surprised; his father promptly lifts him up.
When the person who stumbles and falls is older, the immediate reaction is one of laughter. Sometimes this first impulse passes and the laughter gives way to pity. But older people have to get up by themselves.
Your sad experience of each day is full of stumbles and falls. - What would become of you if you were not continually more of a child?
Don’t want to be grown-up. Be a child; and when you stumble, may you be lifted by the hand of your Father-God.
871 Child, abandonment demands docility.
872 Don’t forget that our Lord has a special love for little children and those who become as little children.
873 Paradoxes of a little soul. When Jesus sends you what people call “good luck”, feel sorrow in your heart at the thought of his goodness and your wickedness. When Jesus sends you what people call “bad luck”, be glad in your heart, for he always gives you what is best and then is the beautiful moment to love the Cross.
874 Daring child, cry out: What love was Teresa’s! What zeal was Xavier’s! What a wonderful man was Saint Paul! Ah, Jesus, well I... I love you more than Paul. Xavier and Teresa!