Day 10: nothing special...
March 16, 2019
Day 11: Be merciful!
March 18, 2019

"That was nice!"

The little boy beams at me. One by one they come marching through the church, most of them proud and happy, some also highly concentrated with their little candle in their hand: the communion children of our parish have confessed for the first time this week.

I admit that at first I didn't really know how and why I should prepare nine-year-olds for the sacrament of reconciliation. After all, they don't usually sin so terribly yet, but rather have to laboriously think about what they have to tell in the first place. But then I found an ingenious definition of "sin" in the children's catechism:

"You know it. You want it anyway. You're doing it on purpose."

The children I talked to all knew the difference between a thing that I break by accident and a thing that I destroy on purpose, for example, to annoy someone. Likewise, they know that a mistake is different than a lie. And I realized: this is about forming children's consciences and telling them about the love of our God. He loves us even when we do something "extra" wrong. As soon as we are sorry and want to repent, he is there to forgive us. Jesus has made this promise to us, and we can pass it on to the children.

Our catechists and priests together have succeeded in giving the children a positive experience and making them feel this love and closeness of God. I find it harmonious that on this Sunday the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Jesus is read. Because the radiance that I have seen in so many ways on the faces of the children this week can also be experienced by adults. God's closeness and love is also promised to us, and it can be experienced in prayer and in the sacraments. If we let God into our lives, he will enlighten them.

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