Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
I've been struck by how literally some Orthodox authors seem to take Luke 18:16.
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Doesn't "little children" even extend to infants? Is it possible that some infant baptisms at least are accompanied by faith on the part of the infant?
Also, how does Orthodoxy read Psalm 71:5-6?
For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
Hmm, perhaps, but lets take something into consideration. Only the Protestants believe that we receive the Grace of God out of our own force of will or decision making. They say you can't baptize infants because folks must chose to be baptized. We disagree, Baptism is Mystery, its a matter of Grace which is free, not earned or decided upon. We can AGREE and COOPERATE with God's Grace but we really do not chose them, we are invited
and we can only accept. So really while we can't understand it, (after all its a Mystery
) even these infants in their Baptisms are both involuntarily receiving the Grace of God and yet also cooperating with God's Will just as we all do whenever we ourselves receive any of the Divine Mysteries as they do. After all, while we may feel like we decided or desired to say, receive Holy Communion, truly it is a Gift of God's own invitation, and we only cooperate
and accept, and if anything God's Spirit put that same desire or decision into our hearts in the first place! Its not a matter of human will, but Divine Will.
The infants than do not necessarily need
faith or wisdom or discernment, but I also would not be so naive as to assume they have no such capacities simply because they not have the agency yet to explain themselves. Frankly we don't know WHAT infants think or feel aside from our gut interpretations and assumptions, so perhaps they are more theologically sound than we are! My cat doesn't speak English, but surely she feels, thinks, knows, and even communicates these with me. Infants to than perhaps can think and feel and communicate these with God beyond our comprehension of it