Innocence is our original, crystalline and most special alliance with God, something we experience in our early childhood.
Admiration is anti-egoism, the virtue whereby we look outside of ourselves to marvel at what is beautiful and like unto God.
The Golden Boy and the Queen
Here is a marvelous example of innocence in the state of pure admiration.
This photo was first published in an Italian magazine. It shows the Queen of England in gala dress, riding in a ceremonial carriage.
There is a small boy on the sidewalk watching her go by. He is in a state of deep contemplation and admiration towards the Queen.
He instinctively folds his hands, as in prayer. His gaze is beyond description -- a mixture of reverence, respect and affection.
* * *
He is all attention. His eyes are fixed on the Queen.
Everything about his face and gaze express a mixture of contemplation and prayer.
He has found something in this life that transcends the vulgarity of everyday things, and this something is a reflection of God on earth.
He is not thinking about himself; not in the least. He is thinking of royalty alone.
He doesn't want to be the King. He doesn't want to use the Monarchy, nor to take advantage of the Queen's passage to be seen.
In contrast, the little girl next to him is posing. She knows she is on camera and is all excited. She would love to be told that one day she would be Queen. But the boy does not want to be King. He only wants that there be a King.
This is an example of unpretentiousness. Unpretentiousness is the ability to be totally in awe with something that is not self.
He could tell the Queen:
"Your Majesty. I am grateful that you are the Queen."
This would echo what we read in the Gloria of the Mass: Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam." We thank Thee, O Lord, for Thy great glory."
This is truly a Golden Boy.
* * *
It was about children like the "Golden Boy" that Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
"But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such."
Our Lord added that those who were not as little children would not enter Heaven. In other words, to get into heaven we must keep our souls in this pristine state and perfect it until the end of our days.
These thoughts explain the notion of the "Golden Boy." They fill us with enthusiasm for things that truly deserves our admiration.
At the same time, they fill our souls with great happiness.
(Thoughts of Plinio Correa de Oliveria, translated and adapted by Robert Ritchie.)