Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Visit to the Blessed Sacrament with Children

 A wonderful practice to begin with our children this Lent is visiting Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament is Jesus, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the consecrated Host, which remains in the tabernacle in the church waiting for us to come and visit Him.

Above is an example of a tabernacle. Jesus told us that He would remain with us even to the end of time. "And behold, I am with your always even until the close of the age." Matthew 28:20  His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament is one of the ways He is with us. He also said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God." Luke: 18:16

So what must we do to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with our children?  I would first suggest that you find out if your parish church is open during a time that you can take your children without a lot of other events going on - organist practicing for Mass, choir practice, etc. Quiet in the church is a prerequisite for visiting Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Once you know it is going to be quiet, then tell your children what you are going to do. "We are going to visit Jesus at church today". Let them know Jesus is looking forward to their (our) visit. Tell them He is in the Eucharistic host in the tabernacle. Explain that the sanctuary light, which is usually red, but in some churches is white, tells us that Jesus is really present in the consecrated Host in the tabernacle. Let them know Jesus can really hear and see them and that He loves the fact that they (we) are coming to say "hi" to Him and tell Him that  they (we) love Him.

I suggest having one short formal prayer for all of your children to say together: the Hail Mary, the Glory Be or an ejaculation: "Jesus, I love you. Bless us." Then if time permits and your children are not fidgety, have each child say a short prayer aloud to Jesus.  End by telling Jesus, "We love you, " and leave. They can wave good-bye and throw kisses to Jesus if they feel like it.

Make the first visit to the Blessed Sacrament short and sweet.

It is important that you as the parent help the children to understand that Jesus loves them and is looking forward to their visit, but also that Jesus is God and that we show our respect for Who Jesus is by our joyous and well-mannered behavior. Some characteristics of well-mannered behavior would be blessing ourselves with holy water when we come into church. Genuflecting before we kneel in the pew or before we kneel in front of the altar. Genuflecting when we leave church. If you as a parent do these things in a very natural way, your children will come to do them in a natural way, too. There is a balance that each parent must find with their own children. We want our children to love Our Lord and to share that love with joy and good feelings. However, church is not a free for all. It is not a place to run and race and hop all over the pews and run around the altar, even if you are alone in church. Our Lord is truly there and He is our friend, but He is also our Creator, through Him all things were made, our Brother, and our Savior.

You and your children will receive many graces for even a short visit of one minute. Just popping in and saying "Hi Jesus. We love you." Will bring inestimable graces to your family. Do not doubt it. Have great faith.

Next post, I will discuss more visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

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