My two younger children attend a Montessori school centered on the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I am a huge fan of the school, and of the catechesis, and on Friday I was reminded powerfully of the reasons why. After the youngest child’s time in the Atrium, parents received the following message about their experience from guide Sarah Kulwicki. There is nothing to be added to what she says, except perhaps to pray that God grants us the grace to experience Jesus in the way these children do.
Today in the atrium we had a special Easter celebration called the “Liturgy of Light.”
For the Liturgy of Light, we enter the atrium with the lights off and gather around the atrium Paschal candle. The Paschal candle, or the Easter candle, reminds of about the light that came back into the world after Jesus rose to new life on Easter Sunday. The imagery of light is an important theme for the 3-6 year old in the atrium. Do you remember being a young child? Maybe you were afraid of the dark. Light brings us a feeling of security, of warmth. Early in the year we hear from the prophet Isaiah (who lived 700 years before Jesus was born!) who said that “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Who is this light? The children joyfully respond, “Jesus!” Jesus is security, Jesus is warmth.
As we lit the Paschal candle, I proclaimed “Jesus is the light which no darkness can overcome.” We remember that ever since that glorious Easter day, the light, Jesus, has remained with us even to this day. I read the scripture passage of the women discovering the empty tomb and finding out that Jesus was alive again. Then, one by one, I lit a small candle for each child using the light from the Paschal candle. The awe, wonder, and reverence during this moment was amazing. The children gazed upon the light, carefully holding it in their hands. We sang joyful Alleluias and “This little light of mine.” At the end, each child brought forth their candle to place next to the Paschal candle. We were able to see how all of our individual lights together made an even brighter light. Jesus shares his light with us, and we can share his light with others.
As a follow up during the work time, children had the choice to spend more time with the Paschal candle lit and their own individual candle lit. There was a small group of children that remained at the Paschal candle after the presentation and asked if they could do it again. I lit the candle again and asked, “Do you want to say a prayer out loud, sing a song, or sit and enjoy the light in silence?” They asked to sit in silence. They quietly gazed upon the light. A child asked, “Can I get the Good Shepherd to hold to say a prayer?” She brought it to the rug and chose to say a silent prayer in her heart. She passed it to the next child. Each of us took turns saying a silent prayer. They asked me to read the scripture passage again. They laid on the ground and looked at the light of their candles. This spontaneous moment of prayer and reflection lasted about 20 minutes. I am grateful to have been a part of this beautiful moment guided by the awe and wonder of the children.
May the light of Christ be with you this Easter Season!