A building - yet so much more!!
Following the Inaugural Mass for each year’s First Holy Communicants, they are given what one might call a ‘guided tour’ of the church, taking a closer and more detailed look around the building to which Parents and Guardians have lovingly and faithfully brought them to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and, hopefully, when possible, also to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and weekday Masses in holiday time. Please God, over time, they (and we) will develop a greater understanding of, Love for, and familiarity with a place which is infinitely more than the materials of which it is constructed. The more we know and love Our Lord, the more effective we will be as Apostles, able to ‘…Go and Teach…’ How many, perhaps of no faith even, living and working with us, might be stimulated to find out about this great Love of our life?! Will they notice, ‘…how these Christians love one another’? If they happen to accompany us to a Catholic Church one day, will our demeanour while there demonstrate the depth of our Faith, the ‘Pearl beyond Price’?
In addition to this mini journey round the church building, children and parents will continue to ‘journey’ together towards that Great Day when the children receive Our Blessed Lord for the very first time; hopefully, the first of many Loving Holy Communions!
In our church, there are many visual aids to help us all (Adults as well as Children) to learn and understand more of the Truths which help bring us closer to God. Indeed the building itself is there to teach us! In fact, in the days before education was widely available and people were not able to read and write as can we, many aspects of the Faith were taught through and recalled by the symbolism all around us in church. These visual aids form a valuable resource in our vital and ongoing responsibility for personal formation in our own Faith and in forming our precious children (future Catholic adults, parents, priests, religious) in the Faith. Children learn much from what they see and hear us do (or not do). Their response to God’s Call (Vocation) may well be determined by the foundations we have laid in their early years. In addition to this, they will understand, appreciate and so make more use of the aids to Sanctity which, as news media clearly demonstrate daily, is actively opposed. Of course, however hard we try, in the end it is down to the children’s use of their free will but we can be certain that, as the Scriptures remind us God will repay our efforts in ways beyond our understanding.
Over the next few weeks we will be ‘thinking’ our way round our Parish Church, stopping along the way to consider the significance of what we see and how this can ‘point us’ in the right direction, helping to make clearer what we, please God, already know from our own upbringing in the Faith.
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church