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Children's Spirituality

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We have spent much of our energy on teaching children the things of our faith; having them know the Sign of the Cross, and common prayers. Little do we appreciate them as spiritual beings just like us grown-ups. I often think about the growth of God in their souls.

All human beings are spiritual. We have a “spirit- receiver,” and can use our conversations with children to stimulate their affinity towards God. Rather than worry about memorizing Bible stories, it is more important a child comes away from the Gospel stirred into thought and troubled into compassion, than if he or she is able to repeat back a lesson or moral.

Rebecca Nye, in her book "Children’s Spirituality: What it is and why it matters," tells us it is in fact the power of Godly play when we simply share the story with children, difficult parts and all, and then get out of the way allowing for the Holy Spirit to act. She gives us a method to encourage a child’s spiritual life. Here are her steps for sharing stories:

  1. Simply sharing the story as it is written.
  2. Get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit work.
  3. Offer to let them retell the story and play the story out to understand the meaning in their own way.
  4. Encourage them to “wonder about it”. There is no right way of understanding. Every response is respected, even honored.
  5. Address each wonderment with, “I’ve wondered about that too…hmmm.”

She encourages us to “facilitate wonder.” Facilitating wonder can be an attitude that is applied to a wide range of encounters with children. It is very helpful in nurturing spirituality. In this facilitation there are no “rights or wrongs’ but only, “I wonder.” Is that not where all our encounters with the divine leave us? I wonder.

Your Life in the Holy Spirit

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The book, “Your Life in the Holy Spirit” by Alan Schrek, offers a comprehensive explanation of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life. We often talk about the Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ, but do not lose sight of the Holy Spirit who is a friend who longs to be close to our hearts.

"...I would like to suggest a personal image of the Holy Spirit that embodies all that he is and does for us: the Holy Spirit is 'the friend closest to our hearts.'

Granted, this is not a biblical image, but it is found in the fathers of the church. St. Cyril of Jerusalem taught that 'the Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console.'

Our friend the Holy Spirit is close to our hearts in order to set them aflame with love for God and with zeal to witness to our faith. He is a friend strengthening us with virtues and gifts for the good of others and the church."

John Paul the Great: His 5 Great Loves

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John Paul the Great: His Five Great Loves, by Jason Everet

If you like St. John Paul II this book is amazing. It is also a great book if you want to learn more about him. John Paul is my favorite saint and learning more about his life through his five loves is inspiring. In particular, the sections on his love of prayer and of Mary left me wanting to pray more. His connection to God showed throughout his pontificate. -- Fr. Aaron Laskiewicz

Renew your faith by learning what enamored the heart of Saint John Paul II.

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