Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Presentation at the Temple

We were meditating on the Presentation in the Temple, and particularly on Simeon's response to the Holy Spirit's prompting to go to the temple, and his response to holding the Christ child. Kristina, age 8, asked, “How do we know if the Holy Spirit is really speaking to us?” She deeply considered this question, wondering, “Is it in a dream, or while we are awake? And how do we know for sure that it is the Holy Spirit, and not just our own mind?” This is a profound question.

During the same presentation, the overarching theme of all the Infancy Narratives (“Who is this child?”) really surfaced for Eleanor (age 8). She asked, “Did Jesus when He was a baby know that He was God?” This is a mystery people have pondered for ages. The catechist responded, “Well, we know that Jesus was a real baby, and as a person He saw the world as a baby does. We also know that Jesus was truly God, who is all-knowing.” The interchange was followed by a period of silence, but it was the full sort of silence that is truly a response to a mystery.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I would lay down my life for the sheep

A 7-year-old drew this picture of the Good Shepherd laying down his life for the sheep. Note the light around the letters.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wonder and Awe

Quinn, age 7, chose the readings and songs for our Pentecost Mass. For the first reading, he had chosen the story of the Magi. It seemed a little out of season, but then I realized it made a nice connection to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, so I mentioned that the magi brought gifts to Jesus, and we receive gifts from the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Then we did the presentation where each child selects a "gift" and lights a candle from that gift's candle.

We returned to the atrium after Mass for an "Open house" work period;' We asked the children to show their parents some of their favorite materials. It was a little chaotic because there were refreshments and tons of people, but the children ate their cake and then set to work.

Cole, 5, who has Down Syndrome, chose the Adoration of the Magi. He took the materials out of the box and then pointed emphatically at me and then at a chair next to his: he wanted me to read the Scripture booklet.

As I was reading, Colin, also 5, stopped and listened, then said, "Oh! Wonder and awe! That's one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It's the one the three kings had." And then he walked away.

Friday, January 4, 2008

From the Journal of Catechist Dan Teller

We were meditating on the Flight into Egypt, and the relationship between the kingships of Herod and Jesus. Isabel asked if Jesus, as an infant, knew that he was a king. The catechist responded that the question of what Jesus knew as a child is a mystery, since he was a human child who would have had limited knowledge, yet was also God who is all-knowing.

Isabel (age 8) responded: “He didn’t know much on earth, but he knew all he needed to know, being King.”

This juxtaposition of the humanity and the divinity of Jesus has captured the children’s minds this year. Earlier in the year, we discussed the mystery of the Trinity, and Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity. The catechist brought up the first chapter of John’s gospel, which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” After this discussion, Robert (age 6) drew the following picture. His phonetically written meditation says: “What I am thinking is that how can Jesus can be God if God was born and Jesus has no beginning and no end. The end.” He captioned his drawing “God and Jesus.” Above the figure of the crucified Christ (with a heart), he wrote “God,”, and above a smiling figure with a heart, he wrote “Jesus.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Visitors from the East

During the three kings presentation 6-year-old Jude asked: "Where in the East did the King's come from?" I told him I didn't really know. He said,"I think they came from that part of Russia that's all the way over close to Alaska."

At the end of the presentation he commented again: " I think they came from India."

The following day Jude was working with the three kings again with some other children. They asked me to read it to them. At the end of the reading we began discussing the gifts. When I explained that myhrr was a perfumed oil he said: "Oh, like the oil that the women came to put on Jesus' body." I said, "You mean at the tomb." He said: "Yes"
Five-year-old Samuel then said:"Except he wasn't there, the tomb was empty."
"Where was he?" I asked,
"He rose and there was an angel there instead," Samuel answered.

From there we went into a discussion about angels and how they are messengers of God and that they usually say "to not be afraid".