Pope Francis greets the faithful during the general audience in St Peter Square in Vatican City


Pope: We Can Learn About Jesus by Watching Children

At General Audience, Notes Lessons Gained From Seeing How Kids Play and Act


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Pope Francis says that watching how children interact and play can teach us a lot about the relationship we should have with Jesus.

The Pope said this today during the general audience in the Vatican, which he dedicated to a reflection on the Christ Child.

Noting that many saints have shown us a great devotion to the Infant Jesus, particularly St. Therese of Lisieux, the Pontiff said from Him, we see the humility of God.

“He, the great, is humble and is made a child. This is a real mystery! God is humble. This is beautiful,” Francis said.

The Pope went on to discuss the little that is recorded in the Gospels of the infancy and childhood of Jesus, but said that “we can learn a lot from Him if we look at the lives of children. It is a good habit that parents and grandparents have, to look at children, what they do.”

The Holy Father went on to consider two characteristics of childhood that are enlightening for our relationship with Jesus.

The first characteristic the Pope mentioned is their desire for attention.

“They must be the focus, why? Because they are proud? No! Because they need to feel protected,» he said. «And it is necessary for us to put Jesus at the center of our lives and to know, even if it could seem paradoxical, that we have a responsibility to protect Him. He wishes to be in our arms, wishes to be cared for and to be able to fix His gaze on us.”

The Pope added that we can make Baby Jesus smile “by demonstrating to him our love and joy because He is in our midst.”

Abandoning our logic

Next, Francis noted, children love to play.

But to play with a child, he said, «means abandoning our logic to enter theirs.»

If we want a child to have fun, the Holy Father observed, we have to figure out what pleases them, rather than selfishly making them do what we want.

This, he said, is a lesson for us: “Before Jesus, we are called to give up our pretense of autonomy – and this is the core of the problem: our pretense of autonomy – to welcome instead the true form of freedom, which consists in knowing who we have in front of us and serving Him. He, this child, is the Son of God who comes to save us. He came among us to show us the face of the Father, which is rich in love and mercy.”

“Hold, then, the Child Jesus in our arms, putting ourselves at His service: He is the source of love and serenity,” the Pope recommended, encouraging the faithful to go to the nativity scenes in our homes and kiss the Child, telling him, «Jesus, I want to be humble like you, humble like God.”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/general-audience-on-the-nativity

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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