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Receive the Kingdom of God as a little child


[I Tim. 5:22–6:11; Luke 18:15–17, 26–30]

Whoso­ev­er shall not receive the King­dom of God as a lit­tle child shall in no wise enter there­in. How is one to receive it as a lit­tle child? Here is how: in sim­plic­i­ty, with full heart, with­out a moment’s thought. A ratio­nal analy­sis is not applic­a­ble in the realm of faith. It can have place only on its thresh­old. An anatomist divides the whole body into its details, but does not see life. So also rea­son, no mat­ter how much it rea­sons, does not com­pre­hend the pow­er of faith. Faith itself pro­vides the con­tem­pla­tions which tak­en togeth­er show that faith com­plete­ly sat­is­fies all the needs of our nature, and oblig­es our con­scious­ness, con­science, and heart to receive the faith. They receive it, and hav­ing received it, do not want to fall behind. Then, it is like tast­ing pleas­ant and healthy food. Hav­ing tast­ed once, we know that it is suit­able, and we rank it amongst the nour­ish­ing sub­stances. Chem­istry does noth­ing to force this con­vic­tion, nei­ther before nor after the tast­ing. Our con­vic­tion is found­ed upon direct, per­son­al expe­ri­ence. Thus, the believ­er knows the truth of the faith direct­ly. Faith itself instils in him the unshake­able con­vic­tion that it is faith. How, then, could faith be a faith of rea­son? In this lies the rea­son­able­ness of faith, to direct­ly know that it is faith. Rea­son only ruins things, cool­ing faith and weak­en­ing life accord­ing to faith; but the main thing is that it is arro­gant, and chas­es away God’s grace—an evil in Chris­tian­i­ty of the first degree.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse