All posts tagged: childhood

Conscience and the Christ Child

Parenthood is central to the Nativity story. Birth and infancy cast Christ the King most of all in dependence. God so humbled himself not only to become man, but also to be dependent upon man, particularly upon two parents, Mary and Joseph. God did not only come to mankind to be sacrificed, but also to be nurtured, to be loved and cared for by woman and man, to communicate his needs and to make requests to his parents as they bring him to adulthood. As we enter into the Christmas season, Christians would benefit from reflecting upon our own experiences of parenthood. What might we learn about the nourishment of the Christ Child and attentiveness to him? Christian teaching can never be an impersonal dictate, but is rather a wellspring of life integrating into man’s experience. Likewise, experience should always be an opening into the life of Christ and his Church. So let us consider the experiences of parents and what we might learn as we observe those experiences in light of the Christ Child. …

Fear the Innocence of Children

You know, sometimes I imagine what any decent agnostic of average intelligence might say, if by some impossible chance one of those intolerable praters were to let him stand awhile in the pulpit, in his stead, on the day consecrated to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, for instance: “Ladies and gentlemen,” he would begin, “I don’t share all your beliefs, but I probably know more about the history of the church than you do, because I happen to have read it, and not many parishioners can say that. (If I’m wrong, let those who have signify in the usual manner.) “Well now, I know you’re not inclined to worry much about what people of my sort think. And the most pious among you are even very anxious to avoid all discussion with infidels, in case they were to ‘lose their faith,’ as they put it. All I can say is their ‘faith’ must be hanging by a thread. It makes you wonder what the faith of the lukewarm can be! We often call such poor creatures …

My Flight to Heaven

Charm me asleep, and melt me so With thy delicious numbers, That, being ravish’d, hence I go Away in easy slumbers. Ease my sick head, And make my bed, Thou power that canst sever From me this ill, And quickly still, Though thou not kill My fever. Fall on me like the silent dew, Or like those maiden showers Which, by the peep of day, do strew A baptism o’er the flowers. Melt, melt my pains With thy soft strains; That, having ease me given, With full delight I leave this light, And take my flight For Heaven. —Robert Herrick When I was a young kid, I often begged to be taken to the park at the end of our block. Going to the park required waiting until mid-evening. I had to wait until my dad came home from work. I had to wait as dinner was prepared. I would stare at the sizzling pork chops and think that it was quite likely that if I were not taken soon to the park, I would …

The Secret Lives of Children

Since school has ended (and so too the endless number of meetings), I’ve been dropping my son off for his final days at preschool. Along the way, we listen to Caspar Babypants, the greatest of all child artists. After listening many times to Messy Face, his favorite tune at present, I drop him off. My son has never been one to bemoan school. Actually, as soon as we mention that the present day is a school day, he gets off the couch and waits at the door to leave. He loves to be apart from us, learning to write his name, to participate in circle time, and presumably to play an array of toddler games that we can only imagine. His mother normally must drag him away from school when it’s time to go home. Over the last semester since he began his scholastic career, I’ve noticed that our son has learned things that we didn’t teach him. He has become an expert at spelling and writing at least the first two letters of his name. He …

Living as a Child of God

While we are vaguely aware that each of us is a “child of God,” we might reflect on what it means for us to be specifically a “child of God. As Jesus said, “I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become as little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18:3). He himself was very aware of being the Son of God, as we see in his “Our Father” and in all sorts of ways in John’s Gospel, but what does being a child mean for us who have struggled so long to become adults? Each of us begins existence in the smallest of ways, the joining of cells from our parents which implanted themselves in the womb of our mothers and started to grow. Our life in the womb seemed uneventful, to say the least, and we might say that we suffered from a sort of sensory deprivation if it were not that we were completely unaware of any other way to live and were indeed not equipped to deal …