To Get Down to a Child’s Height

Christ Blessing the Children by Lucas Cranach the Elder ], via Wikimedia Commons

Christ Blessing the Children by Lucas Cranach the Elder ], via Wikimedia Commons

Caryll Houselander on the Power of Children

“Christ’s insistence on the power of children is very striking.

Almost more than anything else in the Gospel it proves that in God’s eyes being something comes before doing something.

He sets a little child among his apostles as an example of what He loves. He says that heaven is full of children.

Indeed, the Architect of Love has built the door into heaven so low that no one but a small children can pass through it, unless to get down to a child’s little height, he goes in on his knees.

How consistent it is with the incredible tenderness of God that His Christ, the Immortal Child, should be conceived by the power of the Spirit in the body of a child. That a child should bear a Child, to redeem the world.

Our Lady was at the most fourteen when the angel came to her; perhaps she was younger.

The whole world trembled on the word of a child, on child’s consent.

To what was she asked to consent?

First of all, to the descent of the Holy Spirit, to surrender her littleness to the Infinite Love, and as a result to become the Mother of Christ.

It was so tremendous, yet so passive.

She was not asked to do anything herself, but to let something be done to her.

She was not asked to renounce anything, but to receive an incredible gift.

She was not asked to lead a special kind of life, to retire to the temple and live as a nun, to cultivate suitable virtues or claim special privileges.

She was simply to remain in the world, to go forward with her marriage to Joseph, to live the life of an artisan’s wife, just what she had planned to do when she had no idea that anything out of the ordinary would ever happen to her. It almost seemed as if God’s becoming man and being born of a woman were ordinary.”

Caryll Houselander The Reed of God

3 Responses to To Get Down to a Child’s Height

  1. Stephanie November 30, 2016 at 1:45 am #

    Thanks Melanie-superb pairing. Such a beautiful reflection. Must finish Rocking Horse Catholic and find The reed of God.

    • Melanie Bettinelli December 5, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

      Thank you. I was so thrilled with the painting. I did a google search and that was one of the very first images that popped up. It felt like an amazing gift that the perfect thing just fell into my lap. I’d never seen this picture before and am totally captivated by it.

      This is probably my third attempt to read The Reed of God. I seem to pick it up, read a few pages, and then get distracted or lose the book. But it’s a good book to read in small snippets and to really think about slowly and deeply.

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  1. A King, A Battle, and Becoming Little – True Restoration - December 1, 2016

    […] to a child’s little height, he goes in on his knees.” So says Caryll Houselander as quoted in To Get Down to a Child’s Height on The Wine-Dark Sea. This short, elegant meditation on Our Lady and Our Lord is an inspirational […]

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