This story is one of a series of stories that begin with the title “Out of the Mouths of Babes.” These stories celebrate the Wisdom of God that can be ours when we listen to and reflect on the words that lead to worship and thanksgiving, words spoken by children. For, as Psalm 8:2-3 tells us, “O Lord, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! I will sing of your majesty above the heavens with the mouths of babes and infants...”
Of special note, this story has been graciously shared for this series by one of the Catholic365 readers. If you have an “Out of the Mouths of Babes” family story that you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to share it in the Comment section! (Unless you state otherwise, I will assume that by sharing your story in a Comment, it is fine for me to share your story as part of this series.)
….Here, then, is the reader’s short, but powerful, story that took place recently, when she was with her three year, four month old granddaughter.
Noticing the pained expression on her grandmother’s face and seeing that her grandmother’s eyes were closing, the grandchild took matters into her own hands—literally.
Without a word, she held her grandmother’s head, giving her two “smacking” kisses—one on each cheek!
The grandmother’s reaction? “With that gesture from my grandchild: Wham! My sleepiness and headache suddenly were gone.
“I just uttered, ‘Thank You, Lord. It is You Who have kissed me through my grandchild.’”
….And I don’t doubt for one minute that the grandmother was exactly right about how and why she felt better and Who it was Who ministered to her!
Even though the premise of this series is that children’s words can bring God’s Words to mind, I have to admit that the granddaughter’s unspoken actions (which popular wisdom says can speak louder than words) brought God’s Word to mind, too.
Hearing about the kindness of the little child to notice that her grandmother was not feeling well, and then to do what she could—offering her “gestures” of love to make her grandmother feel better--reminded me of Jesus.
How many times in the Gospels did Jesus touch those who needed physical healing! In one passage from St. Luke (4:40), for example, we’re told: “At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.”
Given that the grandmother shared this story right before Holy Week, I couldn’t help thinking, too, about another kind of kiss—a kiss of betrayal; a kiss quite the opposite of the two kisses that the little grandchild lovingly gave her grandmother to help her feel better.
Inasmuch as what we do to one another we do to Jesus, I can’t help thinking that Jesus accepted the granddaughter’s two innocent kisses as doubly making up for the one we recall that He received on Holy Thursday.
And, yes, in the same way that what we do to others, we do to Jesus, the good others do to us in His Name is Goodness shown us by Jesus, working in and through them. So, the next time someone shows us a gesture of healing, let us be humble and wise like the grandmother who shared this story. Let us realize that it is Jesus Who ministers to us.
And how fitting that Jesus would bless this grandmother through her granddaughter, since Jesus Himself “embraced [the children] and blessed them, placing his hands on them” (Mark 10:16), no doubt giving them the witness and the capacity to love purely and innocently.
When someone has suffered a great loss and, as adults, we don’t know what to say to express our empathy, let us recall this grandmother’s story and the healing power of a caring touch that says, “I see your pain and I want to do whatever I can to relieve it.” And then let us entrust the grieving person to Jesus Who alone knows how best to minister to us when we are hurting.
May God bless all those who need a healing touch of kindness, expressed most powerfully by the genuine caring and affection shown by children.