Recently, after settling my 4 1/2-year-old granddaughter into bed for her nap, I noticed she had her Rosary draped over the light next to her bed. She has always been fascinated with Our Blessed Mother and Jesus and I thought it might be a good time to introduce her to the real way to use the Rosary ( instead of using it as a pretty “Jesus necklace” when going to Church.) So, I held it and told her this is used to pray to Jesus and God and there are special prayers for each bead. She wanted to know which beads were for Mary and which for God so, I showed her and recited the Our Father and the Hail Mary. She listened intently and then asked what temptation meant. When I explained, she said it was the Holy Spirit that helped us not to be tempted to do bad things and I was happy she understood. So, I left her to take her nap.
My daughter and I were conversing while little Chloe was supposed to be sleeping; however, we heard her singing and talking (which is pretty normal when she doesn’t want to actually sleep during nap time) so, we didn’t think anything of it. After about 20 minutes, Chloe opens her door and walks out to talk to us. She had a look on her face that I haven’t seen too often as it was a combination of confused, excited, embarrassed, and questioning. She shyly told us that she had been talking to God and singing to Him. Then she asked us if we ever heard God talk to us in our head. I could tell she was really interested in our reaction/answer so, I quickly answered that sometimes I have felt God telling me to trust him, not to worry and that He loves me, things like that. She had a look of genuine relief and when I asked her what did God say to her she was excited to respond. She said she was telling God she loved him and wanted to be his friend when God told her that he will always be her friend and she heard it in her head. My daughter and I told her she was so lucky to have had God talk to her and that He will always be her friend. She kind of giggled and went back to her room.
Prayer has been a big topic in our home for the last few weeks as my husband and I are doing two entirely different things relating to prayer. He is in a small group at our Church learning about Meditative prayer, while I am helping with 5th grade Religious Education and we are discussing the different kinds of prayers. Watching the reaction of a 4 1/2-year-old, who has never been told she would actually “hear” the voice of God after praying, really brings home the words of St. Matthew, ” Jesus said, let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Mt. 19:14 No matter how much we learn about prayer, types of prayer, kinds of prayer and offer prayers, we must always remember to humble ourselves before the Lord. We would do well to follow the words of our Lord in the gospel of St. Luke when he says, ” Truly I tell you, if anyone does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, he will never enter it.”
As adults, we often approach serious prayer in a meticulous way. Making sure we have the “steps” down pat, wanting to say the prayers just so, often forgetting to come before the Lord with our hearts open bare. Exposing our ignorance, faults, pride and worldliness, instead of coming to Him as a child; innocent, joyful, loving and open to being guided in our ways. God wants that relationship with us; He wants to allow us to be in full union with Him, in this life, as well as, in the next.
Our paths to Holiness require us to be on this journey of Spiritual Union with God. That is our ultimate goal and it is God’s ultimate desire for us. Our hearts need to pour out in prayer, our desire to love God, as he wishes us to love him. He will guide us along our journey and will always be there, whether we receive spiritual gifts from him or not. If we truly desire to grow in our paths to Holiness, we will be taken on a journey through prayer that is overwhelmingly joyful and desolate; however, even though some times may be difficult, we must persist, be faithful, love God, and trust in Him. When we do this, we will also be able to “hear God’s voice in our head” and know He is always our friend, too!