Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Childhood

Pope Benedict XVI quotes St. John Chrysostom on the importance of training children in the faith.

"'In this first stage inclinations to vice and virtue begin to show,'" the Holy Father said. "That is why God's law must be impressed on the soul from the beginning 'as on a table of wax.' In fact this is the most important age.

"We must be aware how important it is that in this first phase of life the major orientations that give the right perspective to existence truly enter into man. Chrysostom therefore recommends: 'From a very young age, arm children with spiritual weapons.'" Share

5 comments:

Vara said...

This is one of the major reasons why the form of the liturgy is so very important. A child taken to either the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom or the Mass of Pius V may not understand the words, nor can he articulate the meaning of the action, nor can he have a sense of the holy as an adult can. Nevertheless, the child knows that the liturgy is "special", that we do things there differently than in common life, and that the adults are showing obvious deference to something larger than they are.

Our children smell the incense, hear the bells, touch the gospel, and see the celebrant bring God amongst us. Yes, our Lord Christ spoke truly when he said, "You must become as a little child..."

Anyone who deprives a child of all these things in their formative years is a thief of souls and a burglar of faith. That is why all of us who cherish traditional faith must see to it that our prayer matches our beliefs. Otherwise, our children enter into life with a burden unneccesarily tied to their backs.

Vara

Margaret said...

What are these spiritual weapons that he refers to?

I assume he means sacramentals like the rosary...any other suggestions?

elena maria vidal said...

I think he means instruction in the faith, in prayers,in Scripture.

Vara said...

I would say that one of the greatest weapons we give to our young is Christ Himself in the Eucharist. Perhaps, Pope Benedict wishes children to receive at a younger age, similar to, but not identical to our usage? It is a possibility.

Everything pales into insignificance when compared with the Eucharist, doesn't it?

Vara

alaughland said...

Today while 'child sitting' I was watching the little boy I was caring for play with his 'hot wheels' cars. He showed me the car and said he pretended that little people got in and drove it. I told him that when I was little I thought little people lived under my bed and in my shoes so I was careful when I stepped down out of bed or put my shoes on because I did not want to step on them. He said he thinks that too, but one has to worry that they will build houses and then there would be too many of them and they would have babies and then there would really be too many of them and so he would have to kill them. I thought, "Wow, what a chilling difference in the way a child from my generation thinks, who never thought of killing as an option or thought of killing at all, to this current generation who discusses killing as casually as eating a popsicle.