Friday, December 29, 2006

Innocents mission

"In conclusion, I shall but remind you of the difference, on the other hand, between the state of a child and that of a matured Christian; though this difference is almost too obvious to be noticed. St. John says, "He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous;" and again, "Every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him." [1 John iii. 7; ii. 29.]

"Now, it is plain a child's innocence has no share in this higher blessedness. He is but a type of what is at length to be fulfilled in him. The chief beauty of his mind is on its mere surface; and when, as time goes on, he attempts to act (as is his duty to do), instantly it disappears. It is only while he is still, that he is like a tranquil water, reflecting heaven. Therefore, we must not lament that our youthful days are gone, or sigh over the remembrances of pure pleasures and contemplations which we cannot recall; rather, what we were when children, is a blessed intimation, given for our comfort, of what God will make us, if we surrender our hearts to the guidance of His Holy Spirit,—a prophecy of good to come,—a foretaste of what will be fulfilled in heaven. And thus it is that a child is a pledge of immortality; for he bears upon him in figure those high and eternal excellences in which the joy of heaven consists, and which would not be thus shadowed forth by the All-gracious Creator, were they not one day to be realized. Accordingly, our Church, for the Epistle for this Festival, selects St. John's description of the Saints in glory."

— John Henry Cardinal Newman, from his sermon on the feast day of Holy Innocents. The Curt Jester has more excerpts within a timely entry on the feast.