philosophy

Tiny Rose

by Howard Hain

renoir-girl-with-a-hoop-1885-detail

Renoir, “Girl with a Hoop”, 1885 (detail)


When my little girl wakes up in the morning she looks like a little rose. A little pinkish-red rose. Her cheeks are just that color. Her skin is so soft and delicate. The sweetest, most tender expression shines forth. Her dark, long, think, and perfectly disordered hair—just like her mother’s—wonderfully frames and presents her perfect little features. And her tiny, sleepy voice usually calls out the sweetest one-word query and request: “Daddy?”
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She could ask for just about anything at that moment, at that precious waking moment, that awakening of innocence itself, of genuine and true affection—that annunciation of a pure and powerfully unquestioning love for a man she trusts with her entire little being to meet all her needs, defend her from all her fears, and make her laugh.
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It has been a humbling seven years and a few months, for she is now six-and-a-half. Her entire life, in the womb and within the world, have brought this arrogant, selfish man to his knees.
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God has never shown such love as in making Himself a small child, a rosy-cheeked little boy, waking and calling out in perfect faith: “Daddy?”
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Jesus is my Lord and Savior, my God.
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The Blessed Virgin Mary is most certainly my mother.
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But Saint Joseph is my merely-human hero. That just and righteous man, who trusted in God and His holy angels, is often on my mind these holy, joyous days.
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For Easter is a time of renewal, of rebirth, a time of innocence, a time when tough guys become little lambs. It is a time when tears that flowed from despair, disappointment, and death are collected into baptismal fonts and poured over the tender little brows of newborns, while proud parents, godparents, grandparents, relatives and friends—just like Joseph and Mary, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joachim and Anne, and a little cousin perhaps, like the recently born John the Baptist—stand close by and can’t help to smile, can’t help to shed a tear, can’t help to laugh out loud and pat each other on the back or fling an arm over a shoulder, while standing extra close as the family portrait is taken.
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Easter is a season. Seasons come and go. So do years. So do childhoods. So do generations. But what never passes away is the Word of God. And that Word is made flesh each and every time we see the Divine Presence in another human being, whether that person is just like us, or not at all.
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Stand up the next time someone walks into the room. Take off your hat. Bow your head. Give thanks that you have been found worthy to be in God’s presence and for the opportunity to minister to Him. For God is surely present, as surely as He is in you and me.
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(April/2016)
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