CGS Connection – 3rd Week of Advent

This week in the Atrium we sing as the rose colored candle is lit, “Light one candle for joy! One bright candle for joy! He brings joy to every heart He comes, He comes!” The first candle was for hope, and the second — for peace. Next week we’ll sing for Love!

Certainly singing is not unique to this style of religious formation, but it is definitely a very important, joyful and treasured part of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for the children AND for the adults. This can take place during a presentation, when we all are gathered around the prayer table together, as a happy little hum emanating from a child working somewhere in the Atrium, or in unexpected places outside of CGS time.

Sometimes the Catechists suggest one of the songs from our repertoire, and other times the little children recall a song and ask to sing it… A few children who, last year, were in our very first toddler atrium session, this year are ALWAYS asking to sing, “Alleluia!” Occasionally a child just breaks out into a spontaneous song that is literally an outpouring of his or her heart! As the children get older they start to chose their own songs for the prayer time from a selection of song sheet posters or from hymnals. Just the other day a Level 3 child sang his favorite Advent song, “O Come Divine Messiah” even though no one else knew it. He’ll write it on a poster to share with his group mates. During formation courses, Catechists get the chance to sing together multiple times a day.

A beloved Advent song that we share with the children, has additional verses that can grow with the children – and with the adults.

The 3-6 year olds sing:
“Prepare now, prepare now a way for the Lord! Prepare, now, prepare now, a way for the Lord!”
Later, when the children are introduced to additional prophecies in Levels 2:
“Make ready, make ready a highway for God – a clear path, a straight path, a way for the Lord!”
and when they are contemplating our Lord’s return at Parousia –
“Salvation, salvation, the gift comes from God! All people shall see, the salvation of God!”

Finally, just a word of how this singing also bears fruit in the hearts of the adults. Three years ago to the very day this was written, our community experienced the passing of a beloved mother, grandmother, friend, and past CGS assistant. I had the privilege of spending some last hours of time with her when she was still conscious. Trying to be optimistic but realistic, talk of Christmas didn’t seem quite right, yet she was “preparing” in a most profound way. Our simple atrium song came to mind and I started to sing “Prepare now, prepare now a way for the Lord…” She softly mouthed the words, “Prepare now, prepare now…”

Whether in the joys or sufferings of life, and regardless of age, It is truly a gift to be able to sing and share about the hope, peace, joy and love of Jesus with God’s beloved children!