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Listening to the Child

Listening to the child with respect and humility was the foundation of educator Maria Montessori’s work. We invite you to read through these posts from our collection of art, theological comments and prayers of children, and share your own reflections. Considering these responses together may help us deepen our understanding of the mysteries of the child and God.

God is in us

During the presentation on Eucharistic Presence, Daniella, age 5, explained, “I am the sheep on his shoulders.” She also announced, “When we eat the bread and drink the wine, God is in us!”  

Eucharistic Presence

As an introduction to the presentation on Eucharistic Presence, I asked Dorothea, age 5, and a classmate what we know about the Good Shepherd. Dorothea explained, “he cares for the sheep.” The classmate said, “He protects them from wolves and other attackers.” We read the Good Shepherd scripture booklet. When I wondered who the Good Shepherd is, they both said, “Jesus.” When I wondered who the sheep are, Dorothea replied, “his disciples.” When I asked if it were only the disciples and wondered who Jesus calls by name, Dorothea said, “me.” The classmate said, “me too!” They both pointed to a sheep which represented themselves. The classmate brought up the last sheep and how he had seen a picture of the Last Supper where one person was turned away and didn’t have a halo; the classamte wondered if Jesus called him. I asked how would it be possible to turn away from Jesus, and Dorothea replied, sinning – “things God and our parents don’t want us to do.” The classmate added, “being mean.” I asked about what Jesus does if we’re lost, and invited them to listen to the Found Sheep scripture booklet. Afterwards when I asked about what the shepherd did, they mentioned that he had looked for and found and carried the sheep and that he had celebrated. I asked about what Jesus is saying will happen if we choose to turn away. The classmate replied, “He’ll look for us!” and Dorothea added, “He’ll celebrate!” When I wondered if Jesus would do this for everyone, they both said yes. I then introduced the pasture of the church in the Eucharistic Presence material and how Jesus calls by name. Dorothea said that Jesus is in the bread and wine. The classmate asked, “But why does Jesus want us to eat a piece of his body?” I wondered if that was what Jesus offered. Dorothea said, “Jesus offers ALL of himself.” The classmate replied, “Oh! I get it.” We then exchanged figures of people for the figures of sheep. Afterwards I asked if all of the people at the table were the same and we discussed differences. Then I asked if Jesus calls only one type of person to the table. Both replied, “No, everyone.” Then the classmate added, “Everyone in the whole world.”

Love is the fruit of the grain

During discussion about the Mystery of Life and Death, Dorothea, age 5, said that “love” was a fruit of the grain. She then drew a prayer card and wrote, “I love this seed because it grows into wheat.”

We are the woman

Damon, age 6, shared that the yeast represents God and that we are the dough and the woman. He said, “The Kingdom of God changes everything too. Like the yeast does. We mix the Kingdom of God so we are the woman.”

Help other people

As we discussed the Kingdom of God and the Leaven and I wondered who the leaven could represent in the Kingdom of God, Xander, age 6, replied, “Jesus because he changes everything, like the leaven changed all the dough.” When I wondered what Jesus would change, he said, “War. He would take it away.” Then he said, “The women could be us!” I wondered what we could do to grow the Kingdom of God and Xander said, “help other people.”

The Kingdom of God changes everything

Thea, age 6, had been working with the Kingdom of God and the Leaven. She shared, “The yeast changes all of the dough so I think the Kingdom of God changes everything too.”

Jesus changes everything

As we discussed the Kingdom of God and the Leaven and I wondered who the leaven could represent in the Kingdom of God, Xander, age 6, replied, “Jesus because he changes everything, like the leaven changed all the dough.” When I wondered what Jesus would change, he said, “War. He would take it away.” Then he said, “The women could be us!” I wondered what we could do to grow the Kingdom of God and Xander said, “help other people.”

More people in the Kingdom of God

During the presentation on the Kingdom of God and the Leaven, when I wondered how the leaven could be like the Kingdom of God, Marcus, age 6, said that the leaven “makes it bigger for more people to get in [to the Kingdom of God].”

Yeast changes everything

During the presentation of the Kingdom of God and the Leaven, Dorothea, age 5, reflected: “The Kingdom of God is small and gets bigger. The yeast changes everything in the bowl and the Kingdom of God spreads EVERYWHERE. That’s what ‘all through’ means.”   

Small but it spreads

While working with the Kingdom of God and the Leaven, Dorothea, age 5, reflected, “Maybe the Kingdom of God is small but it spreads.”

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