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VIRTUE AND VICE


 

 

NOT CHILDISHNESS BUT THE SPIRIT OF CHILDHOOD

Jesus said: "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God."

If this is true, then growing up means a loss. Why should I desire to grow up if adulthood deprives me of the kingdom of God? Why should God give us physical development when this favors vice than virtue? Why did Christ choose grown ups as His apostles instead of children? 

Someone might suggest this answer: because children do not bear malice, they do not know how to swindle their neighbor, they are not vindictive, they do not desire wealth, they do not covet honors.

That may be true; but virtue is not founded in ignorance. Children do not do those things because they are still ignorant of those things. And self-control is not praiseworthy if it is due to impotence.

Christ is not offering us childhood; but the goodness that imitates the simplicity of childhood. He does not put before us inability to sin -- which is not a virtue -- but the will NOT to sin. 

St. Ambrose (PL 15, 1782)

  

 

 

(11-06-02)

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