Sunday, June 30, 2013

Children and the Diary of St. Faustina

The following is an excerpt from the Diary of St. Faustina:

765 "On one occasion, I saw the convent of the new congregation.  As I walked about, inspecting everything, I suddenly saw a crowd of children who seemed to be no older than five to eleven years of age.  When they saw me they surrounded me and began to cry out, “Defend us from evil,” (179) and they led me into the chapel which was in this convent.  When I entered the chapel, I saw the distressful Lord Jesus.  Jesus looked at me graciously and said that He was gravely offended by children:  You are to defend them from evil.  From that moment, I have been praying for children, but I feel that prayer alone is not enough."

In speaking with Fr. Andrew Apostoli recently he brought this passage to my attention.  There are several things that struck me:
The first was a call to defend children from evil spoken both by the children themselves and by Jesus.  The children just didn’t ask for protection they cried out for help which would imply an urgency.
The second is that young children between the ages of 5 and 11 offend Our Lord Jesus.  

What are we to do with such a piece of information.  St. Faustina’s reaction was to pray for them but she herself says this alone did not seem to be enough.  What if the children were to pray themselves?  Would that please Our Lord and help to foster their own interior growth?

How does a parent or anyone start to encourage prayer for their children.  One such avenue is to join a Children’s Rosary group or start one. A Children’s Rosary is a prayer group composed of children and lead by children.  Once a month or if interest exists weekly the children meet together with their peers to pray the rosary.  It is here in prayer that they begin to reflect on the life of Jesus.  As the Rosary is repetitive in nature it is ideally suited for children.  As each child prays a decade we are told that fruits are given.  If one were praying the first joyful mystery the fruit of that prayer is humility and the second joyful mystery is love of neighbor.  How beautiful to contemplate ones children growing in the virtues in such a gently way.  I have often reflected on the many deficiencies I have as a mother and am consoled by the thought of Our Blessed Mother helping in the shaping of my children.  For when we bring our children to her in prayer she makes up for our deficiencies enveloping them in a maternal love so strong one can not fully appreciate such a thing. Another way to initiate your children into prayer is to have a small family prayer every night.

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