My eldest son is preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Last night we had the preparation night. While the night was largely about connecting children with their parent or guardian (presumably because they don’t talk to one another about this sort of stuff) there was one exercise that really stood out.
Dotted around the walls of the hall were the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You know the ones; knowledge, reverence, wisdom, understanding, etc. The Parents tell the child which gift they witness best and then the child goes to that place on the wall. For the record my son was at “understanding”
At this point I noticed there were two young girls under “Wonder and Awe.” On the parents explanation – one parent of each group was asked why their child was there – she said is was the observation of and appreciation for the small things around her. She had such innocent eyes.
When came the turn for the child to place the adult in the same exercise I was quite eager to get his response. He seemed a little apprehensive and unsure. Not wanting to sway on answer but rather to help him focus I asked him to now it down to a few, which he did. Soon he was pushed for time and, to my surprize, he chose “wonder and awe.” I was the only one there.
Like they did with the adults whose children were in groups, the children were asked about the adults. When my sons turn came (given I was the only one under this gift) he gives his reason why I was placed there.
I read the bible to him of a night. We have read all of the New Testament twice and much of the Old Testament. We are slowly working our way through Proverbs and the Maccabees. During this time I might pick a strange occurrence, or word, or person and elaborate on that for a moment. Its a way of bring it alive and relatable. (There was a story earlier where Jerusalem was getting invaded by an army with elephants. One soldier was flattened by an elephant as it died. A terrible way to die no doubt but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to exaggerate and elaborate this a little!)
Because of these reasons my son chose to place me in Awe and Wonder: because of my observation of and appreciation for the small things in scripture. Subtleties are everywhere; in the world around us, in scripture, in the people we meet. These draw us closer to God. His voice is in the gentle breeze not in the earthquake.