The World's First Love by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Part 28.

In addition to the growth in age, which is the fruit of obedience, the Gospel also indicates that there was a growth in grace and wisdom, too. These are both properties of the soul. As His human body grew in stature to fair and comely proportions, so His human intelligence and experimental knowledge unfolded gradually into full blossom. Growth in wisdom and grace or fervor for God imply that the person who grows is, at a more advanced age, wiser than when he was young he knows something and he understands something which he did not know and understand before. But how could this be in His case, since He is the Son of God? Was He not God even when He was a child? And how can God be ignorant of anything or fail to understand anything? How could He grow in wisdom? Our Lord, even when He was a child, was Everlasting God; but it is also true that He was "manifest in the flesh." He became really and truly, and for our sake, an infant, a child, and a man. He did not merely seem to be human; He actually was human. In order that He might be really and truly a man, He consented, in His wonderful condescension, not to call into exercise those powers which He had as God. It is not too difficult for us to understand how a person, having strength, may refrain from using it. For example, a father can gently pick up a child, or a giant can turn the pages of a book. In like manner, a man may have strong and good eyesight, but he need not use it farther than he pleases. He may shut his eyes altogether; in that case he will see nothing. He may only half open the eyes - in that case he will see only dimly and confusedly. Or he may live in a dungeon, where there are only a few straggling rays of light to pierce the gloom.

So with Our Blessed Lord He had in His Divine nature all wisdom and power; yet when He made His appearance among us as man, He did grow in that experimental knowledge which comes from living and doing certain things. He came into our dark nature, just as a free man might come out of the light of day into a dungeon and consent to be shut up. For a man in a prison may have the power to walk many miles but the dungeon will permit him to walk only a few paces, He may have the power to see many miles, but his vision is limited to the prison walls. So Our Blessed Lord took a nature like ours in all things save sin, and accommodated Himself to the feebleness of that nature - limited Himself, if we may use the expression, to the wals of it. That is why Our Blessed Lord never worked a miracle in His own behalf. Taking upon Himself a human nature, He subjected Himself to its limitations. But what is most interesting is that the subjection to His Blessed Mother is associated with growth in wisdom and favor with God. It is in His human nature that Our Blessed Lord gives us a perfect example of obedience.

This leads us to a forgotten aspect of obedience to law, namely, that intelligence is related to obedience. It is only by obedience that we grow in wisdom. A scientist who would know the laws of nature must sit passively before nature. He may not dictate to nature its laws, nor may he impose his own intelligence upon nature; rather, the more passive he is before nature, the more nature will reveal its secrets. And he who would play golf well must know how to hold the clubs aright, for here, too, wisdom is related to obedience. The more we obey the inherent laws of anything, the more that thing reveals itself to us. To obey God's laws because they are the ordinance of an All-wise and an All-loving God is the best means to discover the wisdom and the beauty of life. One whole Psalm of the Scriptures, Psalm 118, is devoted to the idea that in obedience to the ordinance of God, we grow in intelligence. Our Blessed Lord, developing this idea later on in His Life, said: "if any man will do the will of my Father, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself." Because obedience is the secret of perfection and wisdom (which Our Lord revealed by being  subject to His parents), He insisted in His great upheaval of values that: "Unless you become converted and become as little children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matt. 18:3) The great gates of the Kingdom, which are resistant to the poundings and the thumpings of the mighty, will swing back at the simple touch of a child. No old people ever enter the Kingdom of Heaven - certainly not those who have grown old in their own conceit. Childlikeness, with its accompanying obedience, is an indispensable qualification for membership in His community. Christianity began with the worship of a Babe, and only by the continued recognition of childlikeness will men be recognized as children of God. But childlikeness is not childishness. To be childish is to retain in maturity what should have been discarded at the threshhold of manhood. Childlikeness, on the contrary, implies that with the mental breadth and practical strength and wisdom of maturity there is associated the humility, trustfulness, spontaneity, and obedience of the child. It is the proud, and the prigs, and the bullies who make social life difficult - the people who love the first places, who insist always on their own right, who refuse to serve unless they can be chairmen, who throw their weight around whether by fair means or by foul. Against all of these Our Blessed Lord sets Himself: first of all, by being obedient to His parents, and then, at the end of His life, by taking a towel and washing the feet of His disciples. "So it is that the Son of Man did not come to have service done him; he came to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for the lives of many." (Matt 20:28)

What makes the obedience of this Child all the more impressive is that He is the Son of God. He Who is the General of humanity, becomes a Soldier in the ranks; the King steps from His throne, and plays the role of peasant. If He Who Is the Son of God makes Himself subject to His Mother and foster father in reparation for the sins of pride, then how shall children escape the sweet necessity of obedience to those who are their lawfully constituted superiors? The Fourth Commandment, "Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother," has been broken by every generation since the dawn of man. At Nazareth, children were taught obedience by Him Who really is the Commandment. In this particular instance, where the Child is Divine, one might think that He at least would have reserved for Himself the right of "self-expression." Mary and Joseph, it seems, could have, with great propriety, opened the first "progressive school" in the history of Christianity in which the child could do whatever He pleased: for the Child could never have displeased. And yet Our Lord says: "And He who sent me is with me: He has not left me all alone, since what I do is always what pleases Him." (John 8:29)