Nurturing Young Souls

When she was about four years old, #8 developed an active curiosity regarding the tabernacle at our parish church.  At first we couldn’t understand why, at the end of communion, she would climb over us and stand on the kneeler, craning her neck in the direction of the tabernacle.  After Mass, she would insist on going over to the tabernacle and staring at it.

One Sunday, she asked, “what’s inside  the gold house?”

We explained, as best as we could, that the house is a tabernacle and Jesus lives inside it.  In hindsight,  we shouldn’t have been so literal.  Our explanation, which seemed so clear to the rest of us, was taken at face value by my inquisitive youngest child whose mind couldn’t yet grasp the True Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

“How does He fit in there?”

“Did someone chop off His head?  How come there’s no blood?”

“Is it just His bones in there?”

Her determination to see real, live Jesus in the tabernacle propelled her to continue shoving past legs, people, pews and seats to catch a glimpse of contortionist Jesus before Father closed the tabernacle door.  Eventually she grew to understand transubstantiation and consecration and the mystery of Jesus in the tabernacle was resolved.

When my older children were very young, they were often showered with presents that my parents would bring back from their many religious pilgrimages.  My children were gifted with bags of souvenirs, among which were religious items:  holy cards, books, medallions, rosaries.  The items came from Rome, Lourdes, Fatima, everywhere there were major as well as lesser known shrines.  In my mom’s eyes, they were little treasures and she presented them to the children with accompanying stories of the shrines and saints.  My mother-in-law would take the children to Saturday morning Mass and then they would remain in the church and pray the rosary.  Nana would lead, children would follow and she insisted on exemplary behaviour from her grandchildren.   Afterwards, there was often a little treat for the kids.

From experience, I believe that little children have a healthy curiosity and a willingness to learn about the Faith.  They are naturally open to learning little prayers and discovering the life of Jesus and the Holy Family, angels and saints, Holy Mass and Church life. Constant exposure to the Liturgy, prayer and to Catholic tradition is an invaluable part of children’s formation and the family, including extended family,  is where the first seeds of the Faith are planted.

We can’t shelter our children from all the non-Christian, immoral influences in the secular world; we need to prepare them for the war on their souls.  Their weapons will be a properly formed Catholic faith, a critical discerning mind and a family that nurtures their souls……..and it all starts with a little child whose curiosity is piqued by Catholic teachings, prayers, traditions and items that are constantly in their lives.

Deo Gratias

In the interest of providing interesting educational material for young children, I came across a new blog, DCV, Daily Catholic Videos, hosted by Fr. Cory Sticha.  One of his posted videos is of Lumen Entertainment, which Fr. Sticha says is “an interesting organization to watch, especially if you have little kids or are involved in teaching kids.”  Check out DCV and Lumen Entertainment.

This entry was posted in Catholic, Catholic family, children, Christian, faith, family, large family, parenting, prayer, rosary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Nurturing Young Souls

  1. children are sponges aren’t they?- they absorb our spirituality almost through osmosis. Our words just clarify

  2. You know that I rail against literalism in my posts, but my concern is only with adult literalism. I can recall when I was three or four. I was captivated by my parent’s statue of the Infant of Prague. Naturally, at that age, I thought there was an actual gigantic baby, living in outer space and holding the earth in place.

    In retrospect, I think that was a perfectly fine belief for a small child. The practical effect of that belief was that I became confident that Jesus was nearby and both capable and willing to support the entire world.

    That’s a belief I return to again and again — even as a mature disciple. As Joni Mitchell wrote, “It’s clouds’ illusions I recall.” My response to that icon was my initiation into a dialog with God that continues to this day.


  3. lilyboat says:

    They are lucky to have you as their mom! I watched Prince of Egypt DIsney movie yesterday. My 4 year old niece was questioning about the talking burning bush! I had a hard time to explain, as you can imagine!

  4. irishsignora says:

    We’ve taken our kids up to the Tabernacle after Mass since they were old enough to see more than two feet in front of them, and explained that it’s where Jesus rests after the Mass. Our oldest (she 5 1/2 now) morphed this into “it’s where Jesus takes a nap,” and so now, after Mass, we all follow Father to the tabernacle to “help him tuck Jesus in.” Kids!

    Peace be with you 🙂 Kelly

  5. Once again, I totally agree with you, which is why I find it so important to fill our shelves with as many Faith centered books as I can get my hands on. I like to intersperse them with all the other “normal” kid books so that my children see them as being part of everyday life, and not something just for Sundays. They love hearing about the saints and the Holy Family, and their innocence allows them to accept the teachings of the Church so much more easily than those who are older.

  6. Me says:

    Thank you for this post! I will look at the link later, but I often have a hard time keeping our five year old still and respectful at Mass. He loves when I teach him each day about our faith but he could care less for Mass.

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