Monday, May 05, 2008

Toddler Theology - Part 2

Children have a knack for making adults look at things differently. All
the things that we take for granted are brand new to them. The wonder on
their faces when they see the ocean for the first time or find a shiny
rock should make us realize the wonders of creation.

Children also have a knack for coming up with incredibly deep thoughts
right at bedtime. I don't know if it's because the stimulation of the
world is finally turned off and they can think, or the stimulation of the
world is finally turned off and we are paying attention, or if they are
trying anything and everything to stay up for a few extra minutes.
Whatever the reason, sometimes these thoughts give me reason to think.

After several days of balking at the idea of bedtime prayers, JP was very
interested in praying tonight. He sat in my lap and we went through the
litany of petitions which he prays every night.

When that was finished he said, "Mama, I want to talk with Jesus. Can you
help me".

He then started to say the Glory Be. I helped him with the words he
couldn't remember and we moved on to the Our Father. He is just starting
to learn that one. He did his best to repeat after me and to add whatever
words he remembered.

Afterwards, he said, "Mama, I want to kiss Jesus".

So, I took his crucifix off the wall and handed it to him. He covered the
small bronze corpus with kisses, then holding the crucifix against his
cheek he said, "It's going to be ok, Jesus. I love you. My mommy will make
it all better".

JP then sat very quietly looking at the corpus. "Why doesn't he have his
clothes?" he said.

I tried my best to explain that bad people had taken his clothes. The look
of shock startled me. "They took his CLOTHES?" he said. "Why, was he bad?"

"No, JP", I said. "He was very, very good, and he tried to tell the bad
people to be good. They didn't like that".

After questioning and arguing about why Jesus lost his clothes, JP got
very quiet again and hugged the crucifix to his cheek. This time he said,
"Jesus, I want to be good and I promise I won't take your clothes."

Then he handed the crucifix back to me to return to the wall.

Even at the tender age of three, JP knows that taking someone's clothes
away was stripping them of the last shred of human dignity. I think I will
meditate on the stripping of Christ tonight.


Brian Michael Page said...

The bad news: don't expect to be a grandmother unless JP has a brother or sister.

The good news, however: I have a feeling JP is going to be the next great priest in your diocese, and he'll have mommy to thank.


DominiSumus said...

Both my husband and I were discerning religious vocations when we met. When we announced our engagement a certain, now eminent, prelate joked that our first child would belong to the Church.

Years later our son was baptized by that same prelate and has a priest for his godfather.