The faith-life of a child is something I think about and marvel at.

At our Catholic School I visit the second graders to tell significant Bible Stories. At religious education we acted out the story of Jesus’ cure through forgiveness of the Paralyzed Man. They love to turn themselves inside out to act out the story, if I allow it. For children it is realistic and mentally healthy to use imagination and act-out adult stories and historical encounters. It draws them, thru the Bible, into God’s story.

At first Confession I find them convinced that morality, as obedience to God’s law, is important, and that they are accountable in some way to God for their lies. This step—though it can be handled wrongly (training them into a false sense of sin guilt, and fear of God)—is actually liberating. It sets in their souls a basis for knowing that the measure of goodness is not any human standard alone, but God.

Human ideals can be accompanied by human self-deception. Human authorities and human justice cannot oblige anyone to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It might be offered as a recommendation but not a command in human society. Only by faith, through a community, can this be done.

To be truly free—in soul, mind, heart, conscience, a person needs to be in union with the Holy Spirit. This is no overnight development. It begins in the earliest questing of the soul of a child, a soul whose nature and destiny has no earthly limit.

Father John Hynes