Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of Atrium

From the Atrium Journal of catechist Dan Teller:

"Today was our first day of atrium, and I had a striking interchange with a six-year old, Natalie. Natalie had completed Level I, and this was my first encounter with her at level II. I recorded what I could of what she said, and only wish I could have written more ... but feared that it would have become my memory of her words, rather than the actual words she said.

"What was so striking to me was not her words, but the deep urgency and sincerity with which she said them. This was expressed through her eyes, her gestures, her tone of voice, and her body.

"Natalie was at the Baptism area, exploring the articles of Baptism. Upon smelling the chrism, she remarked to the catechist, "That's how Bethlehem smelled years ago." "Why?" asked the catechist. "Because God is good and made that place good." Many other statements about believers and non-believers followed, which I was unable to record.

"A few moments later, we lit the Paschal candle and I offered Natalie to light a small candle from it. She replied, "I want you to have it. Everyone should have the light. Even if you don't believe in God, you should know He loves you."

"Finally, gesturing to the light and the entire Baptism area, Natalie said, "The light is the path and God speaking to you. Everything is God speaking to you, the cross, the candle, the water, the Bible. Everything is God speaking to us. That's how you know He loves us."

"Later in the atrium session, Natalie was remarking on how beautiful God's words are, and how much she desires that all people love Him. I took her to the tablets with the Great Commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27). I invited Natalie to cut out a paper the shape of the tablets and write these words down. With the greatest care, she traced and cut the tablets and wrote the first part of the text down, carefully saving the rest of the work for next week."

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