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.
Listening to the Child
During the first part of a presentation on the Breaking of the Bread, the entire class shared one loaf of bread during Friday’s prayer service. When I asked how it felt to share the bread, Braden, age 8, responded that it felt like we were all “united.” Another student added that she felt “connected.” During the discussion the following week about the gesture of breaking the bread and what it could mean, Braden, responded, “Jesus is going to die and he’s going to come back.”
While introducing First Communion journals and talking about ways to devote time each day to talk to and listen to God during this time of preparation, I asked the children why they would want to receive the bread and wine. Braden, age 8, replied “Because he was holy. Because it’s part of Jesus.”
During Eucharist a 6 year old boy was seated w/ his family behind Evelyn. He knew and said every response and prayer. At the consecration, during the elevation of the host she heard him whisper, " Jesus, I love you."
May the graces of Lent bless you as you prepare for the Easter season's celebrations of Baptism and First Eucharist. We have some lovely resources for the parents and children of your community to celebrate these Sacraments.
During a presentation on the mustard seed, 3 1/2 year old Nicholas made comments throughout the presentation: "Jesus is in me. Jesus is in my tummy...It's (still? always?) Christmas because Jesus is in my tummy....Jesus eats late (?) the mustard seed and it grew and he gets bigger and bigger (jumping up and extending arms.)
In a meditation in preparation for First Communion, we were reflecting on reconciliation as celebration. When asked what other names we could have for reconciliation, they bubbled over with suggestions: Celebration of light, of forgiveness, of the Found Sheep, of Jesus, of the Found Coin, of the Cross, of God's heart, of the Holy Spirit, of peace, of being found, of the sap going through, of washing away sins, of the clean garment.
In the same meditation, they said that blocks put holes in the white garment, destroyed it, and reconciliation made it all new, fitting perfectly, with no holes.
Xavier, age 6, reflected on the bread at communion, "When we eat it, all of our bodies will be the Body of Christ."
Prayer written by a third-grade girl after her first True Vine meditation:
God is a vine, but not a normal vine. He calls him the True Vine and we are the branches. When God calls us the branch and him the vine we are more than we think we are. God uses the word remain 10 times in one of his stories. So from now on remember what God has taught us. Amen.
During a discussion about the True Vine, suddenly Nigel, age 6, began talking about the sheepfold and he said this:
"The sheepfold, you know, it's just a holding place. We don't belong here. We belong with God and we're going back to God. This is just where God sends us to learn."
Catherine Maresca and her mother Montessorian Aline Wolf will discuss spirituality and religion in Montessori schools. This discussion, led by Dennis Shapiro of "The Public Montessorian" will be a workshop at the American Montessori Society conference in Dallas, TX March 27-30, 2014.