Children At Home With God – Part 3 of 4

St Joseph With Christ – Childhood of Christ by Gerard van Honthorst

Father Cassilly notes: “The mutual love of parent and child is kept alive by conversation, and the topic of it matters little. The petty incidents of home and school afford abundant material. The child of God must also converse with Him, and this conversation on the child’s part is called prayer, and the topic of this prayer may be anything that comes into its life and becomes a subject of interest or concern to it. Our affairs, intentions, aims, aspirations, desires, anxieties and needs, may all be subjects of intimate converse with God, in which we ask from Him light, direction or aid. It is, indeed, a duty for us to pray, a moral necessity, just as to see and hear, to eat and sleep are bodily necessities and duties. The healthy body, however, finds it a pleasure rather than a task to yield to these cravings, and we, too, if true to God, will regard prayer as a blessed necessity of the spirit.”

“The saints found their difficulty, not in praying, but rather in learning to combine work with prayer, that is, so to keep their mind on God as not to interfere with the proper discharge of their other duties. The Apostle would have us pray without ceasing. And this we shall never be able to do unless we are like children, whose sole aim is to do their parent’s will, to accomplish the duties confided to them merely out of a desire to please father or mother.”

“‘Walk before Me, and be perfect’ (Gen 17:1), was the injunction of God to Abraham, which signified that the patriarch was to perform his actions and regulate his motives as though God Himself were looking on. This indeed is a compendious and effective mode of attaining holiness, since no one would wish to displease or offend God in His actual presence. . . . We can scarce conceive a dutiful child committing serious wrong before its parents; so that it would certainly be a very short cut to perfection, always to realize by faith that our heavenly Father is ever present to us, watching us with love, and that His smile of affection will be turned into a frown of displeasure by our misdoing. The displeasure of father or mother is sufficient to cloud the sunshine of a child’s soul and bring on a shower of tears.”

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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