The following is an encouragement from Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins to parents and teachers to help their children understand the true Christ so that they might make Him their hero. It’s also an encouragement to all of us to do the same. What I find striking about this piece is the quality that Hopkins emphasizes as heroic–it’s reminiscent of yesterday’s post. May the Holy Spirit help us to perceive Christ in this way. . . and to perceive others likewise.
[Christ] is the true-love and the bridegroom of men’s souls: the virgins follow him whithersoeer he goes; the martyrs follow him through a sea of blood, through great tribulation; all his servants take up their cross and follow him. And those even that do not follow him, yet they look wistfully after him, own him a hero, and wish they dared answer to his call. Children as soon as they can understand ought to be told about him, that they may make him the hero of their young hearts . . .
From all that might be said of Christ’s character I single out one point and beg you to notice that. He loved to praise, he loved to reward. He knew what was in man, he best knew men’s faults and yet he was the warmest in their praise. When he worked a miracle he would grace it with ‘Thy faith hath saved thee,’ that it might almost seem the receiver’s work, not his. He said of Nathanial that he was an Israelite without guile; he that searches hearts said this, and yet what praise that was to give! He called the two sons of Zebedee Sons of Thunder, kind and stately and honorable name! We read of nothing thunderlike that they did except, what was sinful, to wish fire down from heaven on some sinners but they deserved the name or he would not have given it, and he has given it them for all time. Of John the Baptist he said that his greater was not born of women. He said to Peter, ‘Thou art Rock,’ and rewarded a moment’s acknowledgement of him with the lasting headship of His Church. He defended Magdalen and took means that the story of her generosity should be told for ever. And though he bids us say we are unprofitable servants, yet he himself will say to each of us ‘Good and faithful servant, well done.’
And this man whose picture I have tried to draw for you, brethren, is your God. He was your maker in time past; hereafter he will be your judge. Make him your hero now.