On the knee of Jesus

By Brea Cannon

Connecting Faith and Life

Boom! Crash! The sound of thunder can be startling and surprising. As a child, I was told a few fables about the sound of thunder to ease a scared mind. God was bowling or a potato truck tipping over in heaven; either explanation made me laugh and giggle – I imagine the desired affect was achieved. 

Recently we were having a thunderstorm around my children's bedtime. As I finished reading and praying with the children, I noticed my 4-year-old daughter was struggling with the thunder. I went to her in bed, giggled with her about God bowling and potato trucks and then we prayed the Angel of God prayer together - she seemed calmer. A short while later the storm was ending but my daughter was still restless in bed. I check on her again. Upon walking in she told me she had been praying, “Guardian Angel, Guardian Angel, Guardian Angel…,” as she held a special pillow with the Guardian Angel prayer on it. 

I asked her if her guardian angel helped her feel safe and brave during the storm. She looked at me with a serious face and said, "No Mom, my angel made the storm pass over and go away." 

In that moment, I just kissed her on the head, told her Jesus, her daddy and I love her, and walked out of her room. 

Our family recently listened to a podcast about St. Ignatius of Antioch - tradition tells us, he was raised in the Holy Land and as a child spent time with Jesus. He later took on the name Theophorus, which means “god-bearer;” as he was blessed and carried in the arms of Jesus in his youth. As St. Ignatius grew, he became a fierce defender of the faith. As a priest and bishop, he refused to renounce his faith and ultimately became a martyr. 

St. Ignatius’ faith grew from his childhood encounters with Jesus – we can experience that kind of faith today if we allow it. When my daughter told me about her guardian angel, the practical side of me could have pulled up the radar map and shown her that the storm was passing before her prayers – but that would have only doubted God’s abilities. 

Our world is filled with so many opportunities for prayer. I often look at something that seems impossible or out of reach, I literally have to remind myself, “Pray and talk to God like a child, believe in miracles, or sit with Jesus and listen like St. Ignatius did.”

With Holy Week and Easter before us, it would be amazing to experience it with the intrigue and interest of a child. Imagine waking up on Good Friday and feeling pain because a close friend is going to die - or feeling sadness on Holy Saturday, because he is still gone. Then comes Easter, imagine waking up with joy because that friend has been raised from the dead. Take a moment and picture yourself running around yelling, “Alleluia, He is risen.” Seriously, imagine that!

It can be humbling; outward excitement with laughter and giggles, to believe in miracles, or to allow occasional tears of sadness requires vulnerability. To regularly avoid these things is common, but children express them every day. Jesus told his apostles, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).

Talk with Jesus as your best friend; ask your guardian angel for miracles or to change the weather patterns; open your heart to the Gospel and Bible stories; sit with Jesus in adoration as he tells you about the Kingdom of God. 

Jesus instructed his Apostles, “‘Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ He then placed his hand on the children in blessing and went away” (Matthew 19:14).

Saints are being born and living in each of us. We have to allow the child in us to sit or sing or cry with Jesus. He invites us to sit with him now as children of God, just as he welcomed St. Ignatius as a child all of those years ago.