The other day, a friend of mine mentioned to me that her son will have First Penance soon and has been anxious about it to the point of actually having bad dreams.
This made me sad beyond measure. Worry? Stress? Upset? Fear? Over Reconciliation? It just doesn’t seem right to me.
Reconciliation should be a welcomed thing – an experience of release, grace and joy. Where else can you simply take all the “uck” in life, hand it over and let it go, walking away blessed and made new?
Reconciliation is a gift to treasure – one I am praying that my friend’s son accepts with peace and, maybe even a smile, by the time it rolls around for him a couple weeks. And, also one, which I hope that my husband and I, in concert with our local faith community, will be able to fully prepare our children for within the next couple years.
To this end, I ask for your help:
- What tools have you found useful in preparing your own children for Reconciliation?
- What child-friendly ways have you found to explain sin?
- Do you have traditions about how you celebrate First Penance that you might share?
- How about relevant stories?
Please share whatever comes to mind so that I can pass your ideas, resources and wisdom along to my friend and her son.
Also, please join me in a brief prayer:
Lord, you give us a gift through Reconciliation. Yet, as is often the case with the new and unknown, some children are anxious about their First Penance. Please help these children to understand the beauty of Reconciliation. Guide parents and educators to speak just the right words and to share just the right tools in order to help each individual child enter into First Penance with eager anticipation instead of apprehension. Holy Spirit, move each of us to offer our broken selves up to be made new.
P.S. Thanks goes out to Esther from Laugh with Us Blog for sharing her sweet, encouraging snippet The Things Kids Say last week as the first to join in our new weekly linky!