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My Image Has Not Yet Been Dulled In Them

April 25, 2008

When living in the Tampa Bay area a friend gave me a used book called “Prayers.” I had no idea what he was giving me. This book has encouraged, inspired and refilled this empty vessel many, many times. I share these thoughts with the prayer that they will fill your heart. If you have read it before I Hope it will still give you reason to Smile.

God Says: I like youngsters. I want people to be like them.
I don’t like old people unless they are still children.
I want only children in my Kingdom; this has been decreed from the beginning of time.
Youngsters—twisted, humped, wrinkled, white-bearded—all kinds of youngsters, but youngsters.
There is no changing it; it has been decided. There is room for no one else.
I like children because my image has not yet been dulled in them.
They have not botched my likeness; they are new, pure, without a blot without a smear.
So, when I gently lean over them, I recognize myself in them.
I like them because they are still growing, they are still improving.
They are on the road, they are on their way.
But with grown-ups there is nothing to expect any more.
They will no longer grow, no longer improve.
They have come to a full stop.
It is disastrous—grown-ups thinking they have arrived.
I like youngsters because they are still struggling, because they are still sinning.
Not because they sin, you understand, but because they know that they sin, and they say so, and they try not to sin any more.
But I don’t like grown-ups. They never harm anyone; they have nothing to reproach themselves for.
I can’t forgive them; I have nothing to forgive.
It is a pity, it is indeed a pity, because it is not true.

But above all, I like youngsters because of the look in their eyes.
In their eyes I can read their age.
In my heaven, there will be only five-year-old eyes, for I know of nothing more beautiful than the pure eyes of a child.
It is not surprising, for I live in children, and it is I who look out through their eyes.
When pure eyes meet yours, it is I who smile at you through the flesh.
But on the other hand, I know of nothing sadder than lifeless eyes in the face of a child.
The windows are open, but the house is empty.
Two eyes are there, but no light.

And, saddened, I stand at the door, and wait in the cold and knock. I am eager to get in.
And he, the child, is alone.
He gets stout, he hardens, he dries up, he gets old. Poor old fellow!

Alleluia! alleluia! Open, all of you, little old men!
It is I, your God, the Eternal, risen from the dead, coming to bring back to life the child in you.
Hurry! Now is the time. I am ready to give you again the beautiful face of a child, the beautiful eyes of a child.
For I love youngsters, and I want everyone to be like them.

(Prayers, by Michel Quoist, Sheed & Ward—New York, 1963, Pages3-5)
If you find it and do not have it, you must buy this book!

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