The secret faucetBy Fr. Francis Ongkingco
Cebu Daily News
Loli (he was called, since this was how he called his grandmother, instead of lola) tugged my hand, “Father, I want to show you my pet rabbit in the garden!” He continued pulling and I gave in to his attractive childlike insistence.
He led me to the back of the house. We ducked under the kaleidoscope of drying clothes that were waving randomly like Tibetan prayer flags that fortunately were already dry.
We weaved through them and reached some sort of shack where old and useless things are kept. In one corner was a rickety cage and inside was a damp brown rabbit that was continuously twitching its nose. It became excited as I drew my hand closer to touch its soft fur. Perhaps, it expected some vegetable treat.
Chewy was the next showcase in this natural museum. Chewy, was a street dog. His friendly face and compassionate black-button eyes revealed some lineage though, perhaps a cross between a golden retriever and a local species. She (I thought it was a he) greeted me continuously with her wagging tail. Although she literally ‘body languaged’ to say that she wasn’t going to bite, I felt I needed more time to get acquainted than risking a handshake with her teeth.
“Father! Father!” Loli whispered loudly.
“What is it this time Miguel?”
“I have a secret to show you!”
“But I haven’t even gotten around to knowing your pets and you’re already showing me another thing.”
“Yes, but this is a secret! Come! Come!”
He pulled me away from Chewy. The poor dog let out a soft whine, maybe disappointed that I could not stay a while to chat and caress her golden fur.
“Here! Here!” Loli was fond, –I guess most kids are–, of repeating words when they’re excited. We weren’t really very far from Chewy, in fact, only a wall and some garden plants between us and her. Loli carefully cleared the plant leaves and pointed to something on the ground.
“There! There! That’s my secret ‘gate’!” he said still whispering excitedly.
“Gate?” I was a bit surprised. I was staring at a corroded half-buried common garden faucet.
“Yes! Yes! It’s my secret. Now, it’s our secret!”
“Uh, okay! It’s our secret now!”
Loli’s eyes sparkled with sheer happiness. I suspected he may have done this to many others too, but what really made him happy was to share something very personal with me. Maybe he felt this was how we were going to ‘bond’ by having to share a secret. It was only a few days later that I realized a lesson behind this childlike experience.
All of us also have our own ‘secret faucets’. The problem is that we may never share it with our Lord in prayer. The secret faucet incident illustrates a very important feature of prayer: intimacy.
Intimacy should not be confused with some sweet and romantic moment. Although they’re related, intimacy transcends them because true intimacy in one’s spiritual life means possessing a childlike commitment of confidence in God. Many fail to really achieve this attitude in prayer because they lack this perseverance. This is very true if one tends to pray only when ‘he or she feels like it’ or certain trials offer no other recourse for the person.
One’s intimacy isn’t a dry normative commitment. It stems more from our desire to be in the presence of someone who fills me with confidence. This is expressed in no other manner than in children who find themselves always confidently turning to their parents, fully aware that with them they can do anything.
The ‘secret faucet’ contains yet another lesson for growing in intimacy: simplicity and sincerity. For an adult, what Loli revealed would seem exactly what it is: an old corroding ordinary garden faucet. But what is important here is the simple and sincere confidence of a child who reveals everything and keeps nothing from God. When we lose this attitude, we could even unfortunately isolate ourselves from God and keep ourselves with our sins.
God is moved to see how a soul confidently reveals even what may seem irrelevant. After all, what can children really offer or show to their parents that their parents cannot outdo. And what can we, God’s creatures really offer in return to God that He has not given us in the first place?
It is for this reason that St. Josemaría frequently taught the path of childhood. In the Way he writes: “Be a little child; the greatest daring is always that of children who cries for… the moon? Who is blind to dangers in getting what he wants? To such a child add much grace from God, the desire to do his will, great love for Jesus, all the human knowledge he is capable of acquiring, and you will have a likeness of the apostles of today such as God undoubtedly wants them.” (no. 857)
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