Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Spiritual stuff and J.
J has attended a Catholic school since we moved to the town when he was aged 5, the school as I reported in my previous post has been amazingly supportive to his special needs. Although the school is a Catholic one with a Catholic ethos it is far from insisting on church attendance or making children enrol for Communion classes. It is just a nice local school which has the needs of its pupils as the focus for everything it does.
Recently J has started to ask about Communion classes as his friend attends and he wants to go to. As a result of this we started going to church and I have discovered that I actually really like doing so. J is less keen but if he wants to attend the Communion classes then the church attendance is pretty much a requirement. In addition he needs to be baptised too so even more reason for attending church.
What J wants to do more than anything though is ..."take the bread" as he sees others doing. I have explained that this is why he will be attending classes as this will be the focus of them. I asked J if he knew what "taking the bread" meant., "yes" he replied confidently.." it means I can eat it" so not quite got a clear understanding of the symbolism behind it then!
I often wonder when I see the children from "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" going off and making their first communion whether they attend any classes or understand the symbolism of what they are doing. It's a big leap of understanding for a child...any child... to have a real understanding of change from the reality of bread to the symbolic body of Christ. Not easy to explain, even harder to understand when you are small and the world is already a bit confusing.
In addition to this we have J's Dad who does not believe in organized religion as such and who finds the recent church attendance all a bit of a mystery. J will talk to his Dad about "Jesus being kind" and his Dad will reply that "Jesus was a good man" without going into his belief that Jesus was just that, "a man" and not wrapped up in all the religion as spoken by the Catholic church. This might be something he will be able to discuss with J when he is older and more able to process difference in belief systems. He knows that his Aunty Moonroot is Pagan or "a witch" as J has heard (he is deeply impressed by this). J also know that his Aunty has a "magic wand" AND "a broomstick" which she assures him she only flies on at night. So we have discussed the different ways people pray but not differences in who they may pray to. Life is already complicated enough without trying to tackle that one yet.
I am rambling a bit here because without a doubt J is enjoying some aspects of the church and finds others (such as Mass) "very boring" as he openly told the priest one afternoon. Thankfully the priest was able to say that he also finds " the Mass boring sometimes" - thank Heaven for a human and normal priest.
So - come September J will start his communion classes and sometime next year will be baptised. I will attend the classes with him both to help supervise and also to ensure J understands what is happening.
In the meantime J says regular prayers, some of which are school taught and others which are ad hoc as he sometimes prays for his hamster who died or for "all the children ill in hospital". I am proud of him for taking it all in his stride, for coping with Mass when the school take him over and for being an angel in Children's Liturgy when it is busy.