CHRIST has told us that we should be “as shrewd as snakes
and as innocent as doves.” (Mt 10,16) And that’s because we are being
sent by him like sheep among wolves in this world. Of course, looking
around we cannot deny that very challenging reality.
Since we cannot avoid always being pressured to be shrewd
and clever in this world that is becoming more and more complicated
these days, we should also make an effort to revisit the ideal of
innocence that is proper to us, and try our best to live it.
Of course, the model for all this is Christ himself. And
aside from being the model, he is also the source of the strength and
grace that we need to maintain or recover the innocence into which we
have been created.
For this, we need to adapt the mind and lifestyle of
Christ who, in the words of St. Paul, “did not count equality with God
a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a
servant…” (Phil 2,6-7)
These Pauline words were prefaced with certain suggestions
that can give us ideas of how we can keep our innocence that can be
severely tested these days. “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit,”
he said, “but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let
each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the
interests of others.” (3-4)
I suppose that if we have to put these words into deeds,
we need first of all to forget ourselves and just think of God and the
others always. This would prevent us from falling into predicaments
like resentments, anger, envy, greed, gossiping, rash judgments, etc.,
as we go through the unavoidable drama in life where we are going to
grapple with differences and conflicts among ourselves.
Like Christ, we have to learn how to be slow to anger and
quick to forgive. Like him, we should abound in steadfast love, eager
to listen, slow to speak and make judgments, and accommodating to
everyone, no matter how trying.
Like Christ, we should strive to have a limitless
patience, willing to bear all things. We can always do this if we
manage to identify ourselves truly with Christ who is not sparing in
We should always put everyone in good light, always
speaking well of everyone, no matter how wrong he may be in certain
points. In the end, he is still a brother or sister of ours, a child
of God like us. Ours is only to help him or her, the way Christ did.
Let’s always remember what the Gospel of St. John said:
“God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that
the world might be saved through him.” (3,17)
Innocence can only mean goodness of heart, a heart
conformed to that of Christ. It should be full of mercy and
compassion, and willing to make sacrifices without complaining. It is
eager to do a lot of good without expecting any return. In fact, it
does good while passing unnoticed. It should be packaged externally
with cheerfulness and a sporting spirit.
We should strengthen our innocence as we go through the
complexities of life.