TAKE CARE YOU DO NOT DESPISE ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES; FOR I TELL YOU, IN HEAVEN THEIR ANGELS CONTINUALLY SEE THE FACE OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. (Mt. 18:10)  Jesus often employs a line of reasoning that surprises by the point of view he takes. The text of today’s Gospel is an instance of such a manner of presenting an argument. When we wish to assure proper regard for a child, or for any vulnerable person for that matter, we find it persuasive to point out their intrinsic dignity, their rights, their need for affirmation due precisely to their weak self esteem. The Lord, for his part, in commending consideration and respect for little ones, does not refer to any quality they possess or any feature that characterizes their situation. In order to claim the regard of his audience on behalf of these vulnerable individuals he declares that they are cared for in a very special way by an angel. He adds, as it were, by way of reinforcing his point, that this angel stands in a most favorable relation to the same Father that Jesus claims as his own.  

This is a most impressive consideration for anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus. What he is telling us here is that when we encounter any little one, whether child or adult, who cannot claim for himself the right to consideration and respect, we are dealing with someone very dear to the Father of Jesus. Dear enough to be under the care of one of the pure and powerful spirits who lives in the contemplation of God’s glory.

Each of us has such an angel to care for our welfare. Let us never forget the respect and consideration we owe to one another, for we too, in God’s sight are but little ones, and because he loves us he has given us too, an angel to guard us in all our ways.    

  Abbot John Eudes Bamberger

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