The subject of “miracles” has come up repeatedly with the children preparing for their First Communion this year. Early in Lent, the 2nd year children were pondering “The Mystery of Faith” and examining how the following are mysteries: Jesus’ death, Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus’ return to begin Parousia, as well as the bread and wine becoming His Body and Blood. Near the end of “The Mystery of Faith” presentation one of the children said, “Really there’s another name for a mystery. A mystery is also a miracle.” This began the first conversation about what constitutes something as a miracle. Several weeks later, near the end of Lent, these same children were participating in a Scripture Meditation on the Healing of the Paralytic and the topic of miracles, of course, came up again. During the second week of Easter, as the children preparing for their First Sacraments began to look at their final in a series of five Scripture Meditations, they read the Healing of the Centurion’s Servant from Matthew 8:5-10, 13. As a review, the children were asked to recall, in their own words, what made something a miracle. There were many beautiful comments, but one in particular was especially striking and the explanation (to the best of my memory!) was as follows:
“Well, it’s like at Mass when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. The priest does a miracle. Well, actually only God can do a miracle. So the priest does it but God does it. I mean, God does it because He’s in the priest when the priest does it. So it’s really God doing it but the priest helps and the priest can only help because God lets him help. Being a priest is so important because God lets him help do a miracle.”
As the child talked through the explanation, you could just see him trying to keep the balance between miracles being something only God can do…and the truth that it is the priest who brings us Jesus at Mass, something that is truly miraculous. What a profound witness to the capacity of these children to do theology…and for their incredible appreciation of the gift of the priesthood.
“Made in the Image of God”
Recently the 1st-3rd grade children (Level II) were asking about some of the pictures on the wall in the Atrium, especially the large poster above the shelf of saints figures. Several guesses were made as to what the picture was depicting, and the fourth child to share her thoughts stated that it was the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I explained that this image of the Trinity was painted in a way that Native Americans might more easily see God as someone like them, someone they could come to know, someone they could have as their friend. I mentioned how most people, when they draw Jesus, make him look like they, themselves, look. One of the children, a few minutes later, said, “Jesus DOES look like each of us because God made us like Him so Noah looks like Him and Claire looks like Him and Zelie looks like Him and everybody looks a little bit like Jesus.”
(As a note, this image was painted by Fr. John Battista Giuliani.Please use this link to enjoy additional artwork as well as more information on his work. The Level II child is ready for the world, and culturally diverse depictions of the faith as well as representations of saints from all over the world and throughout time are appropriate and of interest to them.)