A Child Observes and Imitates

Author: Fr. Miguel Marie Soeherman, MFVA

A Child Observes and Imitates

Fr. Miguel Marie Soeherman, MFVA


11/20/2006 — A Day Honoring The Divine Child Jesus
(7am Mass — PCPA Hanceville, AL)

“Unless we become like children, we shall never enter the Kingdom of God!”

Since this is a prerequisite for entrance to Heaven, it would be helpful to observe how children are like in their relationship with one another.  It is amazing how much they can teach us.  They do not teach us with words but by their actions they teach us.  God uses them to teach us how to become children of God!

A while back, my brother, who lives in Hoover (Alabama), invited me to go to lunch with him and his family after Mass one Sunday afternoon.  I accepted the invitation.  I noticed how quickly his children have grown.  The one thing that I noticed particularly that afternoon was how little Rebecca frequently imitated her older sister Gabriela. 

— If Gabriela runs from a distance with great excitement to greet her uncle and to give him a hug, Rebecca would not miss a beat in imitating her. 

— If Gabriela is very reluctant in just simply greeting her uncle, then Rebecca would do the same.

— If Gabriela runs around the table before finishing her food, Rebecca too would imitate her in running around as well.

— If Gabriela behaves well, Rebecca also would behave well.

Little Rebecca constantly imitates her older sister.

This is typical of children.  They often imitate one another especially the younger ones often imitate their older brothers and sisters.  So you, older children — you are often being observed and imitated by your younger brothers and sisters.  You may not realize it but you have been “preaching” to them already at your young age by your actions.  So be always good examples for them.

With parents too:

— If the parents tell their children to do something while the parents themselves do them, then the children easily imitate what their parents do.

— If the parents tell them to do something while the parents do the opposite, guess what happened?  The children end up doing the opposite as well.  They often imitate their parents rather than do what they say.

“Unless we become like children, we shall never enter the Kingdom of God!”

Last time, on the day when we honor Our Lord’s childhood in this Temple, I made a reference to a little book by Maria von Trapp.  She’s the lady of the “Sound of Music” who wrote a book called Yesterday, Today, & Forever.  It is a book similar to the life of Christ but she put more emphasis in His hidden life.

There (cf. 84ff), she pointed out how children learn by observing and imitating.  Before they go to school they have learned a whole language and all the necessary ways of acting and doing in order to go through life: how to eat..., how to sleep..., how to talk..., etc.  They watch the ones they love and trust.  They watch their father and mother.  And they watch their brothers and sisters.

If Our Lord wants us to be like little children in this regard, He certainly has supplied the means: He has told us about the Father in Heaven.  We have the example of His wonderful Mother Mary.  And we have the example of our older brothers and sisters — the Saints in Heaven.  We have plenty to watch and imitate.  Though we have plenty to watch and imitate, even the nicest person in our midst will have his faults.  Even the greatest Saint will first have had to do an enormous amount of work to become like children.

But, we have Jesus, the Perfect Example!

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son... that the world might be saved through Him.”  He’s given us His only begotten Son to observe and to imitate.  He is the Little Child Who shall lead us to Heaven.  He is the Little Child Who shall lead us to the Father and to His House.  How are we to follow His lead?  We are to follow His lead by imitating Him!  As St. Paul once wrote: “Be imitators of Christ!”  All of us are to be imitators of Christ!

In the first twelve years of His life, Jesus was in stature a Child, the Holy Child, the Divine Child, the Perfect Child!  The Divine Child Jesus is always in the presence of His Father.  He watches the Father.  And He imitates Him.  He said somewhere in John’s Gospel: “I only do what I see the Father does.”  The Divine Child Jesus observes and imitates the Father.  So we too want to imitate Him.  We want to perseveringly observe and imitate Jesus.  And Jesus is the Perfect Image of the Father.  So when we observe and imitate Jesus, we are observing and imitating the Father, since He and the Father are one.  Later on too — the night before He died, He said: “I have given you an example, that as I have done, so you do also (Jn. 3:15).”

And last night at the televised benediction, I gave you a few points to consider on the perfection of the Divine Child Jesus:

— He is pure and innocent!  How much we need Him to lead us to a life of purity and innocent!

— He is always respectful toward Mary and Joseph, His earthly parents.  How much we need Him to lead us to be respectful toward our parents and those who have authority over us!  For us adult children, this may be a real challenge especially when our elderly parents started to be forgetful or difficult to care or to converse.  Remember, the Divine Child Jesus is God who is all mighty and all knowing.  Yet, He humbled himself by surrendering Himself to be under the authority of Mary and Joseph.

— He perfectly accomplishes the Father’s Will.  How much we need Him to lead us to perfectly accomplishes the Father’s will in our lifetime!

Finally, I want to invite you in praying together to the Divine Child Jesus this morning.  After the second paragraph, we can briefly pray in silence asking Him to bless us with His grace to always observe and imitate Him all the days of our life.


O Divine Child Jesus!  I come before You, moved by love and by hope.  And I beg You  to look mercifully into my troubled heart.  Let Your own tender Love,  always inclined to compassion,  mitigate my troubles and alleviate my sufferings.  Take from me, if it be Your Will,  all unbearable afflictions  and let me never surrender to despair.  Grant me, Dear Child Jesus, the special grace I ask from You today  in all humility and with a loving trust,  and for the sake of Your Sacred Childhood,  always hear my prayers..... 

Through Your Holy Mother Mary,  I consecrate myself to Your Sacred Heart.  I am all Yours.  My body is Yours for You created it.  My soul is Yours for You redeemed it with the price of Your Precious Blood.  I proclaim You as my Lord,  my Savior,  my King,  and my True Friend.  I adore You as my God and my Sovereign.

O Divine Child Jesus,  give me Your love and send me Your blessing,  now and for all eternity.  Be generous with Your aid and consolation,  that through Mary, our Mother,  I may always praise You,  and the Father,  and the Holy Spirit,  one God, forever and ever.  Amen.