I’m a Catechist for the Right of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). I lead the RCIA for Children class at my old home Parish. We provide catechesis (religious Ed) for the children of Catholic converts who are entering the church during the Easter Vigil. One of the things I find the most challenging about leading this group is that the children are of various ages (8-17) and have such diverse religious backgrounds. Some are just learning about Jesus for the first time; while others already have an intimate relationship with Him through their Protestant background.
We have recently been studying God’s Ten Commandments. Children, much like adults, don’t care for rules. Teaching others about God’s commandments is challenging because as a society we don’t like being told what to do; not even from God and especially not from His Church. I understand why children feel this way as they have yet to form their consciences. I admit to becoming a bit more frustrated with adults, who like me, struggle with pride and often neglect God’s laws.
I often have to remind my kids that everything God gives is meant to help us lead happy lives (sacraments, scripture, His Church, and even those 10 laws). I asked the children to reflect on the 10 Commandments as a list of things they CAN do; I asked them to stop focusing on what they CAN’T do. Their responses were extremely insightful.
Today is the start of Lent. During the next 40 days we spend time reflecting on what we are going to use as nourishment for our bodies, minds, and souls. Can we quiet our pride and allow ourselves to be nourished by Christ? The children in my class say yes!
The TEN COMMANDMENTS (what 10 year olds say we CAN do)
- I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.
- Go to Mass.
- Worship Jesus.
- Pray to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Sing to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Pray really hard during Mass.
- Only pray to God.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
- Tell Jesus you love him.
- Say God’s name with respect.
- Use God’s name to help someone else.
- Say good things and respect others.
- Enjoy every second of your life and give thanks to the Lord.
- Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
- Go to Mass (put a reminder on your cell phone if you need to).
- Worship God.
- Rest on Sunday.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- Speak kindly to your parents.
- Tell your parents the truth.
- Tell your parents you love them.
- Pray for your parents.
- Hug your mom and dad.
- Help your mom and dad.
- Thank your parents for all they do.
- Thank a Veteran, Police Officer or Fireman (ok, this one was mine).
- You shall not kill.
- Be nice to people so you don’t hurt them emotionally.
- Respect all human life.
- Give human life.
- Compliment people instead of bullying them.
- Protect other people’s spirit and prevent suicide.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- Respect your body and the body of those around you.
- Wait to have sex until you are married.
- Wait until you’re married to have a child.
- You shall not steal.
- Lend items to those who need them.
- Give away items to those who need them.
- If someone has their stuff stolen; try to help them.
- Buy your own things and make your own money.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- Tell the truth.
- Help your neighbor.
- Respect your neighbor.
- Be honest.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
- Be grateful for your family.
- Look for a good wife to marry.
- Love your family.
- Like your wife. Like your husband.
- Find your own love.
- Respect other people’s love.
- Be thankful for the people who love you.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
- Be grateful for what you have.
- Want what you already have.
- Work hard and get your own stuff.
- Help other people keep their goods safe.
- Be thankful for the things you own.
Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned. Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17
Peace be with you this Lent!