I last wrote a review regarding Christian books around Eastertide of this year. As always I am reading, reading, reading. I think I single handedly keep our church library busy! One book that is full of wonder and thought is the classic, “The Religious Potential of the Child” by Sofia Cavalletti, which I think should be a must-read for any parent interested in children and their relationship to God. This book was written after twenty-five years of work with children ages 3-11, and offer profound insight into spirituality and religion for the young child. To me personally, religion is first and foremost about love, joy, wonder and a personal relationship with Christ and this book captures this so well. I read this quite some time ago, and am glad I circled back around to it again as its words are so rich and profound for all of us as human beings.
What this book does to me, is to remind us that children can lead us to God and that we must not hinder them. Instead, we must envelop both the mystery of God and the mystery of the child. If we start with our own hunger to know and love this child before us, how much easier to find a path to the Divine!
The major themes of this book includes Christ as the Good Shepherd; the Eucharist and how this draws forth a response in us; Christ as a Light and how this transmits to a child through Baptism; and the mystery of Life itself. In this book is acknowledged the child’s ability to see the invisible, the child’s mysterious knowledge of God and the joy that can be found in God. The adult is not the “teacher” – both the adult and the child receive in wonder.
These wondering experiences are based in Christ – Christ as the mediator; Christ as seen from the Incarnation as a bond between man and God. There are wonderful indications in this book for working with small children using parables from the New Testament, particularly this image of Christ as the Good Shepherd, including modifications and presentation. Communal and personal meditation and art response are all part of wondering.
Interestingly, this book advocates waiting for Old Testament stories until the child is at least Continue reading