"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." ~Luke 18:16-17
The patron saint of the hermitage I stayed at this last weekend is St. Therese of Lisieux. She lost her mother when she was 4 years old, and when she was 15 she entered the Carmelite convent at Normandy France. She referred to herself as a "little flower" and she practiced what she called "the little way of spiritual childhood." Therese died of tuberculosis when she was 24. I wondered during my stay how a person can become a saint in such a short amount of time. Especially given that tuberculosis is a wasting disease that slowly debilitates before it finally kills you (there are treatments now, but none then) I wondered where this sick little girl learned so much about love.
I don't know much about how these kinds of things work, but I think I must have benefitted from Therese's influence around me. I felt very much like a child during my stay at Pacem. In fact, my most productive times of prayer really didn't consist of words at all. I would lay down on my bed and invite Jesus to be there with me, very much like a child who asks a parent to cuddle for a while as they fall asleep. I felt so much love and peace. I had no fear. I very nearly heard a quiet "shhhhhhh" as I fell asleep. This was the way I interacted with God when I was a very little child, and I miss it. So, so good. This is how silent prayer is for me. I don't have to know the right words. I don't have to sound smart or have everything figured out. I just have to be exactly where I am and trust that I am loved.
Maybe saints are just little children who don't know any better.