Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gesture of Peace and the Breaking of the Bread

The catechist was presenting the gestures of peace and breaking of the bread from Mass to a group of 9-year olds. A low round table covered with a white cloth held a plate (model paten) and unbroken bread (model host). After reflecting on the gesture of peace, the catechist invited everyone to stand around the table holding hands. He remarked, “Our standing like this is a way of representing the unity of the peace we experience from Christ. Is this peace just here in our atrium or our own church?”

Several children immediately replied, “No, it’s over the whole world.” Ben exclaimed, “The whole universe!” Charles wordlessly brought a model of the sun and solar system and placed it beside the prayer table (he brought this model from the Montessori classroom connected to our atrium).

Later we reflected on the priest’s gesture of breaking the bread, with the One Broken Bread as the source of our peace. The catechist referred to the broken bread on the model paten, asking “Are there many Jesuses, or just one?”

In response, Charles brought the large Paschal candle to the prayer table. He said, “It’s just like the light.” Charles was referring to the spreading of the one light to many individual lights, which are still united in the One Light. He had lived this reality two weeks before as we celebrated our Easter celebration, the Liturgy of the Light.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A mother whose children attend an atrium recounted this story about her youngest child who was not yet old enough to begin:

Kristina (5th grade), Kyle (18 months) and I were sitting on her bed. Kyle was holding a small icon picture of the Good Shepherd which had just fallen from where it had been hanging in our hallway. As far as I know Kyle had never seen it before. Kristina pointed to the Good Shepherd and said "Who is this, Kyle?" To which he responded "Mommy." I then pointed to the sheep, and asked "Who is this?" "Baby," he answered.

A short while later, my husband wanted to show us all how well Kyle knew all our names. He proceeded to ask him, "Where's Kristina?" "Where's Eric...Eliza...Mommy... Daddy?" To which Kyle pointed appropriately in turn. When asked "Where is Kyle?" he pointed to the sheep in the Good Shepherd picture he was still holding and said, "Me." I had never talked to him about the Good Shepherd.

How vividly we see the deep spiritual connection between the Good Shepherd and the child that exists and is beyond our understanding.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Jesus, I love you

During Eucharist a 6-year-old boy was seated w/ his family. He knew and said every response and prayer. At the consecration, during the elevation of the host he whispered, "Jesus I love you."

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Chalice is Like Creation

Charlie, age seven, had been in the atrium for four years. Driving home with his mother, he mentioned that he had been doing the preparation of the chalice. During the lesson on the preparation of the chalice, the catechist says: "The wine represents Jesus." (She pours a full cruet into chalice.) "The water represents you and me." (She pours one drop of water into the wine.) "Now, what could this mean for us?"

Charlie's mom, a catechist herself, asked him what he thought "the mystery of the water and wine" meant. (His mom was thinking it meant that we are so small, and God is so great.) But Bobby said, "It's like creation: the water is the people, and the wine is Jesus and God. When everything was prepared in the world, people came last, just like the water is added last after the wine is prepared." His mom asked the other catechists whether any of them might have presented this idea to Charlie, but they hadn't -- he came up with it himself.