Let us all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast day in honor of all the Saints, at whose festival the Angels rejoice and praise the Son of God.
A few weeks ago, I was putting my children to bed. After bedtime stories, I read a children’s reflection to them based on the scripture reading for the day. The reflection that day was about guardian angels. It explained that angels are pure spirits, without bodies, who hold a special place in heaven and act as messengers and watch over us. My 9-year-old daughter said with a smile that she wanted Grammy, who had passed away a few years ago, to be her guardian angel. I explained Grammy would actually be considered a saint, because she had a body, and when she passed away she left her body behind and her soul went to heaven. Patting myself on the back for my concise and clear explanation, I said my goodnights, gave hugs and kisses, and figured the kids would drift off into a peaceful sleep. A few minutes later…
“I don’t want to die!” followed by tears. Oh, no. The next half hour was spent calming and comforting both of my girls, and doing my best to “sell” the best features of heaven to them. In heaven there’s no illness, no pain, no sadness. We get to see everyone we love and everyone’s hugging each other, it’s all joy and happiness. I gave them more hugs and kisses. Then I said, “And in heaven no one fights or is hungry.” My five-year-old then said “You mean we don’t get to eat?! I want to eat in heaven!” She also wanted to take her stuffed animals with her. Sigh.
In every Mass we celebrate, we are reminded that we unite our prayers and praise with the saints and angels in heaven. And this time of year, we focus a lot of attention on death, rising to new life, and the second coming of Jesus. These ideas and topics may spark questions for your children, and it may be scary to them. It can be scary for us as adults, too, and certainly not easy to explain. But they are important conversations to have. If you are unsure of what to say, we have been given the great gift of our catechism to use as a reference when we have questions about what the Church believes and teaches. If you don’t have a copy of the catechism at home, it is available online at usccb.org. Know too, that the Holy Spirit is with you during your conversation, acting as a comforter and guide.
God bless! Mollie Muntefering
Coordinator of Liturgy