Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Whisper Catechesis

A, posing with the new family car. Seriously. We sold the mini-van in favor of this ...umm...yellow thing. 

Dear Kids,

We are now in the midst of preparing A for her First Confession and First Holy Communion. I should be clear though. We started all of you on your First Sacramental preparation when you were just babies. We always considered your early catechesis to be a catechumenate of sorts, a preparation for life in the Church. A liturgical life. A sacramental life.

Of course we had to start small, so step one was getting you Baptized. Then, step two was taking you to Mass often. And step three has been the main part of your catechesis so far in your young lives. I call that step "Whisper Catechesis." 

Starting when you were just babies I began whispering in your ears during the Mass. Sometimes it was my own prayers I whispered. But there are also lots of little phrases that have grown over the years. 

For example, at the moment of consecration I usually whisper "It looks like bread, but its Jesus". At the moment, A has her own response to that phrase: "It looks like Jesus to me!" she always says back to me. 

We have also used some of the great moments we were blessed with while living in the UK. For example, when we went to Rome (each of the times, but especially the first) we focused on the tabernacle. We stopped in every church we passed (which is a lot) and we looked for the tabernacle and practiced our genuflecting, bowing, sign of the cross and any other liturgical movement we could think of. That is also when we started our "Tabernacle Prayer". It has had some variations over the years, but it usually goes something like this: 

O Jesus, I know you are truly present in this Tabernacle. Some day I want to receive you in Holy Communion. Please help me to be ready. 

Sometimes Whisper Catechesis has turned into theological discussion. Although I try to be sensitive to those around us, I also try not to miss those moments when questions arise. We have discussed the nature of the Trinity ("Does God have a brother?"), Heaven and Hell ("What is final dalmation?"--no that is not a typo), and many others.  We talk about what is going on at the Mass, why the priest is doing certain things. Of course, sitting in front has facilitated that, but it has also made the "whisper" part really crucial. 

This week A has been doing some narrations from the Faith and Life book, and this has led to discussions about why Jesus was baptized since He is God and doesn't have any sin. A also wanted to know if Jesus took on all of our sins on the cross, does that mean He sinned? What great questions! 

I hope when you are grown and reading this, you are still asking questions like that. 

That is all for today…I must get upstairs and see what mischief y'all are up to now. (See? We are Texans now so we can say "y'all")



  1. Carol,

    I love your whisper catechesis! When my children were little I'd do something similar. I'd whisper, "Look! Jesus is coming down from Heaven," and after the consecration, "Look! There's Jesus. Let's blow Him a kiss."

    "It looks like Jesus to me!" That is so beautiful!

    God bless.

  2. This is sweet, and the questions are too funny! My sister's kids, and one of her daughters especially, can always be counted on for good fodder for theological discussions. For example, my sister was recently teaching them about the resurrection of the body, and told them that at the final judgement, THIS BODY will rise and be reunited with your in Heaven you will get your body back. My niece: "Will I have all my cavities too?" She also played an interesting word in Scrabble: SINKSURE (cincure).