CGS Connection – Sacrament Preparation – Part 2

Sacrament Preparation – Part 2

If children have had a full Level 1 experience (ages 3-6), they come into the Level 2 Atrium (ages 6-9) eager to know what new gifts, beauty, sacred messages await them. Very intentionally, parts of the new Atrium will seem familiar to the maturing child. All the materials that were mentioned in the previous article (Sacrament Preparation Part 1) are also present in the Level 2 Atrium so that the children can continue to ponder the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, the names (and now descriptions) of all the Articles of the Mass, and the Eucharistic Presence of the Good Shepherd. There is one strikingly new material, however, that is a central point of this new plane of development – the True Vine!

Dr Maria Montessori meticulously observed that from 0-6 years old, the child constructs his/her personal self. Then, from 6-12, the child is constructing his/her social self. It is a perfect time to introduce the Parable of the True Vine to ponder our connectedness to God and to each other on the vine, our desire (originating from God’s desire for us) to remain on the vine and our mission to be fruitful. As these children are also transitioning from the concrete to the abstract, it is beautiful to start reflecting with the children about what “fruits” look like in our life on the Vine. The first meditations on this Parable are really reinforcing the positive attributes of remaining with Jesus for a good, holy and fruitful life.  There will be a second meditation later that will discuss withering and pruning.

There are other materials offered during regular atrium sessions that continue the child’s journey toward the Sacrament of Reconciliation. While Level 1 focused on Parables about the Kingdom of God, Level 2 CGS introduces some moral parables to model our Lord’s parable method of teaching and highlighting ways to respond and to live in God’s Kingdom. We offer the Parable of the Good Samaritan to reflect on good and generous relations with others. We offer the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector to discuss the contrast of a humble versus a proud relation with God and with others. In our experience, the children love this parable because they have had experience by now of bragging.

There is also a special cabinet that has tablet-like cut outs in it. For this material of The Maxims, each tablet has a passage of scripture that points out Christian ways of living. Children ponder twelve or so passages such as: “Let your ‘yes’ mean yes and your ‘no’ mean no”; “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit”; “Love your enemies”; “when you pray, go to your inner room…” All of these help to fulfill the Great Commandments “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” which are also on printed on tablet-looking boards.

Our hope and faith and goal is that all of this is building in our children a longing to remain in His love, in His Grace, in His Sheepfold, and a sketching a vision of how this is done. At some point the children also realize that it will take God’s help – since without Him, we can do nothing good. This opens their hearts and souls and minds to wanting to getting ready for the Sacraments that will strengthen and assist them!

Join us next week for Part 3!