Monday, May 30, 2016
Vested, I waited outside church just before the service was to begin. I looked across the street to the parking lot. A little girl, about six, was coming to mass with her family. Usually she is very quiet, especially in church. When she saw it was me who would be the priest, she exclaimed, "Fr. Terry. Yes!" Then she pumped her arms with enthusiasm. I have a fan. But it shows to me that children do have spiritual lives that need to be fed. They are interested in God and church, if only someone would speak to them in their language, to their experience, to their way of understanding. I seem to have a gift of preaching to children. They listen and remember my Maureen stories. They get the point. I talk about the God of their world. Unfortuanately, this is not the norm. Children are told to go to church, but they find it hard to relate to the God-language to which they are exposed. And we wonder why they drift off after Confirmation or whenever they can get away from "having" to go to church with family or school? No doubt, many stay and are satisfied. But I am a Paulist priest. Our focus is on those who live on the periphery, those who feel on the outside, but who have a hunger even they might not know is about the Spirit. Now if I could only preach deep theology to the adults.