My two children recently attended vacation Bible school here at Immaculate where they learned more about how to think like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and act like Jesus. Then, the South Carolina murders of 9 people during bible study happened. My children asked me why God would let such a terrible thing happen, in a church. Their question gave me a reason to think like Jesus about why bad things happen, and I was able to talk like Jesus, about free will. I told my children that God never left Jesus when he died, and that God is still with Jesus now. God was with the 9 people who were murdered, and even in death he never leaves us. Free will means bad things are going to happen and it is up to us all to choose to act like Jesus so we too can go to heaven when we die. At the end of our talk we prayed, that the 9 people are at peace and that God have mercy on the murder's soul. In this small way, I too learned more about how to think like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and act like Jesus.
A friend of ours recently separated from his wife, and she left him with the care of their three children, the youngest merely a baby. The mother is no longer a part of their lives, and we were very heartbroken to hear of this. The last time we visited with him, however, the children were surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends of the family who are now sharing the responsibilities of raising the children with this single father. We saw how these children may have lost a mother, but God provided several new "mothers" in her place to love them like their own.
I was observing a second grade class watch a short video on Martin Luther King Jr. The video ended with an excerpt of MLK's "I have a dream" speech with a gospel music background. All at once, the second graders with a rainbow of skin colors - black, white, and brown- all started to snap in unison to the gospel tune - just as Martin Luther King Jr. was saying, "I have a dream.... that little black boys and girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as brothers and sisters."
Christ in diversity, unity, harmony, peace, and in the innocence of children.
The prayers of my children: Seeing and hearing them talk with our Heavenly Father warms my heart.
After Father Satish's homily on "The Parable of our True Worth", I asked my pre-teen daughter how she wanted to look back on her life and be proud of herself. She proved herself much more mature and focused than I was at her age, and said she that wants to be a second grade teacher and "help others grow in their faith." The conversation led to me sharing my testimony with her, a great mother-daughter bonding experience, and encounters with Christ for both of us.
When I take the Eucharist, I feel so close to Jesus. Taking the Eucharist can help me be a follower of Christ because it reminds me that Jesus loves me. That Jesus is in me. If He is in me, then I should be like Him to others. - age 10
For my First Reconciliation I got a Bible from my family. I was very happy because I always wanted one. It has my full name on it. I can read about Jesus everyday. - age 7
One day after school, my mom, sister, and I walked to CVS. Since dogs aren't allowed in, we tied my dog up and went inside. When we came back out, there was an empty harness. I was starting to panic. What if he tried to cross Far Hills? He'd be smashed! We went around the block twice. We couldn't find him. My mom reminded me of a bible verse: "Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything." So we went home and prayed. Many people prayed for us. The next morning my mom found out who had . We got home and our dog was waiting for us. I believe in the power of prayer, for real! (age 10)
Here are some encounters with Christ submitted by a one of I.C.'s Religious Education PREP classes - the children are all between 8 and 10 years old:
*My first time serving was when I was poured with Jesus' love! The visiting priest touched my cross necklace and I felt the Holy Spirit! Now I enjoy serving every time!
*Sunset in the clouds.
*When I sing and serve at church! I enjoy being invited to sing and serve the Lord!
*When Jesus touched my heart when I was praying and singing.
* The clouds remind me of God.
*One time when my sister didn't know a Bible story I read from the Bible and asked her questions about them then she understood more.
* I had two encounters with Christ. I had two dreams about him. One of the dreams I was brushing my hair in front of my mirror and Jesus came up behind me singing.
Listening to my children sing, "We Believe". Hearing young voices praise God is indeed an "Encounter with Christ"!
Children's school Mass, Thursday, September 11
Gospel reading: "Love your Enemies"
The children directed and acted out parts.
The children "Got it." So did the adults, drawn by the truth so openly displayed as only children can.
The children and adults alike had an encounter with our Teacher and we prayed for our enemies.
A class of First Communicants aged 7 and 8 was asked, "How did you encounter Christ this week?" (though prayer, scripture, an act of kindness, a peaceful, joyful, scary moment, etc) and here are some of their oh, so sweet responses:
* My friend gave me chips at a soccer game.
* At the dinner table and at bed when we prayed I felt God. Each time I prayed he was there.
* I know he was with me when I fell face first on the cement and it hurt a lot.
* When I was scared.
* I won a soccer game. I know what the score was - it was 8 to 1- and we gave a fist bump to the referee - it was God.
* My encounter with Christ was when last night we watched Dolphin Tale and my family watched, too. It was relaxing and fun.
We were driving with a van full of girls, ages 10 and under, windows rolled down, and all singing "All the People Say Amen" at the top of our lungs. There was Christ right at the center.