Hello. Welcome to Beyond the Pew. As Easter gets closer and so many of our kids will be receiving Sacraments for the first time, whether it be Confirmation or Baptism or their First Communion, we’re going to talk about how to talk to your kids when they receive the Sacrament.
What is a Sacrament?
Sacraments are symbols that Jesus has given us that actually give us grace. So we receive grace, which is God’s life within us, we receive that grace every single time we receive a Sacrament. This includes every time we go to Mass and we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, and whenever we go to Confession. Because grace isn’t something that we can see sometimes when we receive Sacraments, we don’t receive any kind of feeling or awareness that what we’ve received is God’s life, and that’s a big deal. And it can be hard for our kids to connect that what they’ve received is something so huge because there’s no awareness of emotion. So what we can do to help our kids to understand what it is that they’ve received is we can show them how to be excited. We can show them how to react when they receive a Sacrament.
This is Exciting!
One of my favorite things that I loved doing at St. Joseph’s school when I was campus minister was manning the Confession line. When I first started manning the Confession line, I would see our kids, kind of in an “obligatory way,” go to Confession and come out kind of like zombies. So what I started doing was every time someone would come out of the Confession line, I would just be so excited for them. “Congratulations! You’re sin is gone! You’re free!” And at first they would kind of give me a look like, “Okay. Yeah. Right…” But after they would get used to me being excited about the fact that they just received grace and that they just received forgiveness of their sins, then they started understanding, “Oh, yeah. I’m free of my sin. I just got grace. I don’t have this burden on me anymore.” And, after a while, they were the ones that started initiating, when they would come out of the Confession line and they would see me, it would be this big, “High five! I’m free! This feels so great! I don’t have a burden anymore! I’m so happy! Yes!” Or before Confession they would say, “Man, I really feel like I really have to go to Confession. I just am so burdened.” And they would begin to recognize and connect the dots that yes, actually in these Sacraments even though we don’t see something tangible, we don’t see grace happening, that the Holy Spirit can and does move in those moments.
If we allow ourselves to be open, we allow ourselves to be transformed, and we understand that’s what’s happening in the Sacraments, then our emotions will follow. So what we can do for our kids is we can connect the dots for them, and show them, “Hey, you’ve just received something amazing. You’ve received something supernatural. You’ve received something life-changing!” And that’s huge! It’s a big deal, and it will start to change how they see the Sacraments, and it will start to change how they receive the Sacraments. So it starts with us. So our kids have to see us excited to go to Confession. Our kids have to see us excited to receive Jesus in the Eucharist at the Mass. For our kids preparing for Confirmation or when we see a baby being baptized at church, we can point out to our kids, “That baby has just been received into the family of God. That’s amazing! Congratulations little baby!” You know, something like that for our kids preparing for Confirmation, helping them to connect the dots, “If you’re receiving the Holy Spirit, how incredible is that!”
By us being excited and us mirroring, portraying that understanding and awareness, we can help them understand and have the awareness that while I’m receiving God’s life in me something supernatural is happening to me, and I’m changed. Something is different. Hope this was helpful. We’ll see you next week. God bless!