Saturday, December 15, 2007

Little kids and the Blessed Sacrament

From the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy's letter, released December 8:

I also recommend that, in their catechetical training, and especially in their preparation for First Holy Communion, children be taught the meaning and the beauty of spending time with Jesus, and helped to cultivate a sense of awe before his presence in the Eucharist"


"Specific places are to be reserved for continuous Eucharistic adoration. To that end, parish priests, rectors, and chaplains are encouraged to introduce the practice of Eucharistic adoration in their communities, both personally and communally, in a collective effort to enhance prayer life. Let everyone be involved, beginning with children preparing for First Holy Communion."

This got me thinking. (Ouch! My head!)

I've always been touched when seeing a priest bless a small child accompanying his or her parent to the Blessed Sacrament.

But I wonder...would it be possible for little kids to learn, before they're old enough to receive Holy Communion, to somehow express the understanding that this is Jesus they are approaching?

I'm thinking maybe that instead of receiving a priest's blessing at Communion time (after all, the kid could be blessed by a priest at any time) the child could be taught to genuflect or kneel before the Sacred Presence while his parents receive Jesus in the Sacrament.

First, of course, the child must understand that this really is Jesus he's approaching. But I don't think this is an impossibility, even for, say, a four or five year old.