Dear St. John family, 


This weekend we’re celebrating some of our very own receiving the Eucharist for the first time! It’s a happy, holy, exciting time of the year, and it’s one of my favorites to experience. The look of awe on our children’s faces as they participate in the Mass completely transforms my own posture of how I usually am entering in to the time of prayer.


We’ve been preparing them for this moment for months now, with classroom visits and retreats.  We’ve talked about bible stories and sung songs about God’s love. And now they’re ready. All the time and effort have been worth it, especially as you see their eager faces receive our Lord in the Eucharist for the first time.


Jesus sure knew what He was talking about when He said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 18:3)  There’s such simple wonder and excitement in children that I find that I have lost even in my short time of being an adult. I get caught up in schedules, to do lists, tasks, and making sure everything is completed instead of basking in the moment and what the Lord desires to say to me then.


But children? While their minds don’t always know how to focus and comprehend things as we do as adults, their ability to sit in the moment and to bask in the joy of it reminds me all the time to slow down. They are able to see things that I often miss because my brain is already on to the next thought, action, or word that I want to happen next. When Jesus calls us to be like children, I think He’s calling us to slowing down.


Because in this slowing down we discover there’s beauty in that moment. There is grace in that moment. We can encounter Jesus Himself, in that moment. When we slow down, even just a little bit, there’s a simple act of trust, acknowledging that not everything needs to be done at our timing, but His.


This is a lesson I’ve only begun to understand and have practiced slowly at best. However, even in this there is some childlike simplicity, as children often need a lot of practice time. The beautiful thing of practicing this slowing down is that it provides a greater opportunity to remember who I am and to Whom I belong. I’m a child of the One who created the Universe and loves me completely, down to the very last strand of hair on my head. (Luke 12:7) Believing that, how could I not want to slow down and enjoy the moment?


To slowing down together,

Clare Kolenda

Coordinator of Youth Faith Formation