TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MONSEIGNEUR DE LA BOUILLERIE, Archbishop of Perga, Coadjutor of Bordeaux.
THE EUCHARIST AND CHILDHOOD.
Suffer the little children to come unto Me. Sweet and beautiful saying, which I confide to you, O Christian soul!
The Saviour had descended to earth to instruct all men : He was the Light which was to lighten the whole world. Every word which proceeded from His mouth announced some sublime truth which neither the schools of India nor those of Greece had heard ; His accents persuaded all hearts: His language was one day to captivate the greatest minds, and yet, when the astonished multitude pressed round Him, he cried to His Apostles: "Suffer the little children to come to Me."
What was the cause, O Christian soul, of this predilection of the Saviour for childhood? In the first place, childhood is the future. And as, in spring, the husbandman looks with love on the rising wheat and on the opening bud, so the Saviour, Who only came to earth to sow the good seed, had loving looks for these sweet fruits of the future—little children.
Again, remember the words of the Prophet Jeremias : " It is good for a man when he hath borne the yoke from his youth."* What yoke, if not that of which the Saviour was to say one day: "Learn that my yoke is sweet and my burden light."t If as children we have accepted the gentle yoke of doctrine, we shall as men bear without distress the noble burden of duty. Ah ! let us give thanks to the Saviour for having so early called children unto Him.