When will you have holy children? When they encounter Jesus Christ.
A child’s soul is specially gifted in order to receive Jesus Christ, that is why St. Pio X insisted that when they receive our Eucharistic Lord, then “there would be holy children”. In children, the seed of grace finds fertile ground, not rocky, and without thorns… and this ground quickly and obviously produces fruit. This is what we experience in the camps for children, which we began many years ago and continue to hold in the month of December.
Two small anecdotes, a sampling.
I call the first “The two Peters”. One of the most attractive activities for the children at camp are the “night games”. It happened that during one of these games I happened to be helping the children in the “cemetery” (the place where they go when they are out of the game). While waiting there, I proposed that we stargaze. We stretched out on the sandy shore of the lake in order to look at the fabulously starry Nihuil sky. (Everyone who has been there will understand what I mean).
There were three of us: the two Peters (each 8 years old) and I. I think it is worthwhile to note that one of these, the second Peter, upon hearing in a sermon about the Apostles that Jesus had given Simon the name of “Peter” because he would be the “Rock” upon which the Church would be founded, began to call himself “Rock”, to such an extent that if you asked him what his name was, he responded strong and proud: I am Rock!
So, together with the two Peters, we looked at the vault of heaven and we started pointing out: “There is the southern cross”, “there are the three Marys”, etc… while the shouts of the game were heard in the distance. There was a long silence, and after a while I asked the first Peter:
-Peter, are you asleep?
-No, he responded.
-Are you contemplating? I asked him.
-What is contemplating?
-It is to look, I replied, and reflect upon something that is greater, more elevated, something deeper.
-Then yes, I am contemplating.
There was another silence. And with the desire to teach them something about what we were doing, I commented to both:
-If this is beautiful, don’t you think our Creator must be so much more beautiful still?!
-Surely!, responded the second Peter. “If God made this so great, He must be much greater, because God has everything, all space, in His heart.
There was nothing more to say…
Another: The camp day starts with the raising of the flag at the break of dawn. Later, Morning Prayer proposes a virtue to work on, “the goal of the day”. Since it was Saturday, we set ourselves to be “good children of Mary”, that is to say, to remember her, to pray to her, and to offer all to the Virgin. During dinner, at the close of the day, we were chatting in circle. It had become cold, really too cold for a summer day, (Editor’s note: remember, in South America it is summer in December). Suddenly one of the boys commented: “Father, it’s so cold!” Jimmy (7 years old), hearing the comment, leaned close to me and said in private, “Father, I just offered it up to the Virgin”…
Often it happens with children that you try to teach them something, and this is communicated, but it is you yourself who end up being instructed… It must be on account of the simplicity of their souls, because “it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs”
In Christ and Mary,
- José Gabriel Vicchi, IVE
San Rafael, Argentina, December 2017