Chris Sherratt, a Beloved reader of the Center for Theology and catechist of God’s little ones at All Saints Anglican Church in Amesbury, Massachusetts, has graciously shared with us a reflection on what God communicates through children. Chris confirms that age old truth, “Out of the mouth of babes comes the wisdom of God.” Read on and share your own reflections in the comments board.
Those familiar with the work of Sofia Cavalletti and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd know that early in their work, she and collaborator Gianna Gobbi characterized the inherent religious desire of the child as “Help me find God by myself.” She expands on this in her book, The Religious Potential of the Child, and we see this desire in children lived out weekly in the Atrium setting. One of my great regrets as a catechist of ages 3-6 is that the wisdom, joy and love of God expressed by the children is not witnessed by more adults. Perhaps this space can rectify this.
A question shared by a five year old on All Saints’ Sunday is a fine place to begin.We had just read Psalm 30:4 and were pondering who the saints of God could be. Somewhere along the way, I stated that saints were people who believed in God and Jesus, and loved Him, and followed Him. I was moving our prayer time along when a question rang out: “What does it mean to believe?”
We use such small word in our lives for big ideas: believe, faith, glory, praise, Amen, Alleluia. It’s a wonderful exercise to try and explain or define these words for an audience so young. Usually a wise approach is to ask the children if they have any ideas what these words mean. This day, a six year old offered this answer, “It’s when you know something.”
Yes, we believe something when we know it, think about it, and know it to be true. I suggested that sometimes we believe things we cannot see. And, these unseen things can be true. Not all things that are true can be seen. There was much silence and no rushing out the door without including our individual prayer time, as one child reminded us by pointing at our statue of the Good Shepherd. So we prayed more, made silence, and sang. We want to be with the saints when they “go marching in.”