Kids are not the future Church; they are part of the Church – now

I’m going to come around to the title of this blog post in a moment and hopefully it’ll all intertwine in a way that makes sense.

I’ve been working on a quilt design in my head for a few months now, and it’s actually made it to paper. Last night in my kitchen I saw the perfect size circle and now need to see if the fabric will fit how I see this coming together in my head. If it does, great, if not, that’s fine too I can change it up a bit. That’s the nature of quilting, there are options. I like options.

Sometime in the last year I subscribed to the Hallow app, which is a bit unusual for me as I am often, somewhat a late adopter of trends and tech. And in the ever shifting margins of trending and being popular it is highly unlikely that I will ever be a true trendsetter. Yes, I’ve had aspirations to that and yes, I’m giving that up because it is simply frustrating on my end. Back to Hallow. A little over a month ago Hallow introduced Fr. Gallagher and the Spiritual Exercises. I decided to add this to my daily routine as there is something engaging in the process of the Spiritual Exercises. Meditating on and contemplating Scripture, engaging it through the active imagination is often quite delightful and sometimes challenging on so many levels, and sometimes both in the same moment. In the reflection listened to this morning Father shared the story of a guy imagining himself at the birth of Jesus. In some sense I can see myself in that moment watching Mary give birth to the Eternal Word, continuing to say yes to the call of the Father, knowing that down the road in His life, her own heart would be pierced by a sword. So the guy as he enters this scene, Jesus newly born hears in his mind and heart the simple request, “hold me.” Whoa. Holding an infant is an intimate, fully body experience. Hold me. As I continued reflecting on this there are a couple of streams of thought

First, I am so accustomed to asking to BE held, that being asked by our Lord to hold him was a little mmmm, searches for the right word. Well not what I’m accustomed to that’s for sure.

Second, Jesus yearns, like all humans, to be held. And even now opportunities abound for this kind of intimacy.

I could, without further explanation have the title serve as the blog post. There is a common post (conversation about kids) saying about little kids, “it’s so good to hear the Future Church” or “I’m so glad you preached to the Future Church” or “Children are the Future of the Church”. And back when I was still in high school there was a song and video with a variety of then contemporary vocal artists singing that children are the future.


Children are part of our Faith, part of our Church NOW. Children are our present.

As Catholics our understanding of the ontological change in our nature through Baptism from someone separated from God through original sin to someone fully immersed in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. It is a fundamental change in our being. Outside of this change children are our now, fully present, learning from us how to interact with the world around us, watching how we interact with people, how we clean up our messes, manage our emotions, pray, interact with our community.

I really had to examine why this “future” bothers me so deeply. Week after week I read on the social media about some young family who was told, “there’s the cry room” (okay there are moments when taking kids out for a few moments is appropriate) or given varying degrees of disapproving looks because kids are little and vocal, and full of energy, and haven’t yet learned how to listen attentively. I *don’t* always listen attentively how can I even remotely expect a little one to give that kind of attention? Further as our little ones are Baptized, they are fully part of the Church, whether they can fully understand, appreciate, participate or not, there is something about their beings that respond to what’s happening at Mass. Some little ones recognize Jesus in the Eucharist, something a lot of adults miss out on. Because these little ones haven’t fully learned our language we haven’t a clue as to their understanding and experience at Mass and how God is speaking to their souls. We may, with these disapproving looks and comments, dissuade a little one from their vocation to the Priesthood or religious life.

I know we sometimes have a hard time hearing. I know we sometimes are completely distracted by them. How about in this moment taking time to pray for this little one, for their needs that they would continue following the Lord in spite of whatever poor education in the Faith we give them. That their parents would do their best guiding them in this part of their life. How about praying that *I* you can be a good witness and love them in this moment. Let’s give their parents the break they need either in offering to help or not giving disapproving looks or making snide/rude comments.

Children are both our present and our future.


God bless,


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