Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jesus and The Monster -- Friends or Foes?

Hello, Coffee Talkers!

Today, in honor of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, we had ten minutes of Eucharistic adoration at the end of Mass for the whole congregation. This means that the Eucharist (the communion bread which, at the time of consecration, became the body of Christ) was placed in a vessel known as a monstrance for a time of prayer.

My girls and I often go to adoration at our parish on Fridays (the girls don't last very long in silence, but I figure a little prayer is better than none!), and so they know about Jesus and the monstrance. One small problem, though -- they think that the monstrance is called "The Monster."

I considered trying to explain the Latin etymology of the word 'monstrance' to them (monstrare means to show or reveal, as in the word 'demonstrate'), but then I realized that pre-schoolers aren't really phased by the idea of Jesus (in the form of bread) sitting inside a gold 'Monster.' To them, I suspect that Jesus and the Monster could easily be friends. He's just as happy hanging out in the Monster as He is when He's living in the Lamb Box (a.k.a. tabernacle).

In my experience, I have found that young children have an easier time of understanding and accepting the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist than adults. Obviously, they don't understand on the same level of depth that adults can reach, but overall, they get it. My girls can tell you all about the Lamb Box and the Monster and Jesus' Body and Blood. And they will! They even play games relating to the Eucharist. Last night, for example, my 3-year-old was holding a tiny toy cup that looked like a chalice, and she said, "I'm just gonna have a little drink of blood before I go to bed." I said, "You mean Jesus' blood, like at Communion?" She said, "Yeah." (Sure, this gives me slight concern that she will play this game in front of others and they will think that we are Vampires instead of Catholics. But more importantly, it dispels the widely held myth that you cannot teach young children about the real presence and so you should fill their classes for First Communion prep with a bunch of fluff and nonsense.)

In honor of today's Solemnity, you can read John 6, where Jesus gives his own most explicit Eucharistic theology. And don't forget to visit Jesus and 'The Monster' at a parish near you!

Peace and all good,

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