Babies Are Not Idiots
Most people act and behave as if infants are deaf and dumb not only to spiritual reality but even to the physical world around them. Adults carry on conversations as if babies cannot hear or understand what is said in their presence. Then, when people actually address infants, they usually talk nonsense at them; few adults talk to babies, engaging or interacting with them as if they were intelligent. Just because newborns are preverbal does not mean they are unaware or unreceptive; they are constantly receiving messages and information, especially through their emotions and inner spirits. Infants are complex little people who see, hear, touch, communicate, receive information and who are, above all, spiritual beings.
Praying Like Women in the Old Testament
If we observe a newborn closely, we will notice when they turn suddenly to look right at their parents as they speak. It was amazing to watch my six-hour-old grand-daughter turn towards her mum and dad’s voices in recognition but ignore the loud voices of the nurses and visitors surrounding her. My granddaughter’s reaction to her parents means she remembered their voices from her time in the womb; she was aware and receptive while still in the womb. This brings to mind the reaction of John the Baptist, leaping with joy in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, as she greeted a pregnant Mary.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, ”Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:41-42)
It was an unborn baby who was the first to recognize and respond to Christ. Then, Elizabeth blessed Jesus while He was still in Mary’s womb. This is why modern parents should feel comfortable blessing unborn children with the Mercy of God. Perhaps those expectant mothers of old were more spiritually aware than modern women because they often choose to stay in quiet, peaceful seclusion praying psalms and soaking their unborn children with the Spirit of God while they waited for labour to begin.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you. Jeremiah 1:5
Babies Can Sense the Mercy of God
Infants know when the Mercy of God is flowing through another person. My most dramatic, personal example of an infant discerning the spirituality of adult was when one of my daughters was six-months-old. I was holding Mary when a tall, slender, older priest, dressed all in black, gently reached out to hold her. He smiled and patiently waited while Mary tensed her entire body, drew back and looked him up and down very suspiciously. She drew back a second time, even further, and once again glanced from his head to his feet and slowly looked back at his face again. A third time Mary repeated the process. Suddenly she relaxed, broke out into a wonderful smile and reached her arms out, leaning forward so Father could pick her up. My baby was receiving unspoken messages from Father’s facial expression, his tone of voice, body language and emotional and spiritual ‘vibes’ which radiated from his inner spirit.
Babies Are Receptive to Divine Mercy
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, infant baptism is another example that the Church recognizes that the unseen Almighty can relate to a baby:
The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.
Yet even Catholic adults relate to infants as if they were not spiritual souls. However, babies’ inner spirits are more receptive to the Mercy and Love of God than most adults:
People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples scolded them, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’Then he embraced them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing. Mark 10: 13-16.
Although infants might seem unaffected by the Presence of God in Church or the flow of His Mercy from His heart to theirs, nothing could be further from the truth. When we gaze into their guileless eyes, the Mercy of God will also flow through them into us if we are open. One day while nursing one of my babies, I experienced a powerful surge of love pouring into my heart from my baby to me. I started smiling, heaviness and exhaustion lifted and joy started to bubble up from deep within me. In fact, I discovered how to let my infant’s love in union with the Mercy of God revive my drooping spirit and heal my soul.
He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9: 36,37
Infants and the Mercy of God
The best way to communicate with preverbal little people is to connect with their inner spirits, in, with, and through the Mercy of God. Infants are part of the family of God; they are children of God just as we are. Babies are fully capable of receiving His Mercy and in response praising and thanking Him:
At the sight of the wonderful things he did and of the children shouting, ‘Hosanna to the son of David’ in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes were indignant and said to him, ‘Do you hear what they are saying?’ Jesus answered, ‘Yes. Have you never read this: By the mouths of children, babes in arms, you have made sure of praise?’ Matthew 21:15,1