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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lessons in the faith from children - Part I

In 2003, Julianne Will remembers taking a class of first-graders on a mini-field trip to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church during the Lenten season. Inside the church, several displays detailed the final moments of Jesus’ life, including his crucifixion.

Will explained to the children what was happening as they traveled from one scene to the next, and noticed the children became uncharacteristically quiet and started asking questions.

The kids were scared, Will said, their sensibilities jarred by seeing up-close the events involving the death of Jesus. They couldn’t compare what they were seeing to the previous images of his life depicted in photos. [source]

In order to help children better understand Jesus' suffering,death and resurrection, Will has written a book of Stations of the Cross for children. She tries to compare the pain that Jesus experienced with the pain that children feel in their own lives. She also has a very competent assistant in her daughter.

I wonder how often those of us with an adult faith can look at a Crucifix and find ourselves jarred, scared, wondering about how someone who brought such good and love could have experienced such suffering. How easy it seems to be to become numbed to the message of the Cross, to make a quick glance and then turn away. The message of the children is that we should always strive to make our faith life ever new, to live our faith in wonder and surprise and shock and awe.


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