A Catholic Monthly Magazine


by Bridget Taumoepeau

At Mass the other day there was a dear little child toddling around, who caught my attention.  Or should I say it was the actions of her mother that sparked off a train of thought. As the child tottered in and out around her parents, her mother instinctively put her hand over the sharp corner of the pew. An unobtrusive, careful, thoughtful, protective gesture to avert the possibility of a nasty bang on the head – so common for small children of that height.

Immediately an image of Our Lord sprang to mind – always present, shielding us from harm.  An older brother or father watching out for us as we blunder through life without taking care; as we put ourselves in harm’s way; as we make mistakes; as we fall and hurt ourselves and others. Not only does He try to prevent us taking the wrong path, but He is there when we are not so wise, to pick us up, comfort us and heal us, just as that mother would have done if her little child had hurt herself.

Pope Francis so often talks of tenderness – the tenderness of God and the call for us to be tender with each other.  The beauty and simplicity of that mother’s actions brought all that to mind. It may be easier for us all to be gentle towards children, but there is so much need for those qualities right through life as well. The smile, the helping hand, the joy of accompanying someone on their way through life, the kindly word, the gentle touch – they all make up a tender way to treat each other, to model our lives on Our Lord and to carry out his works of mercy.

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