A friend was having a hard time explaining the real presence to a child. I was wondering if I can get different ways to explain the real presence that has worked for you. She felt like she was just digging herself a hole the more she tried. Any help with be appreciated. Thanks!
Children usually are visual learners. So I teach them that during the mass, Jesus comes down and becomes bread for us.
It is so important that bells are rung when the miracle occurs.
Jesus loves us so much that he wants us to be close to him, and since we won’t get to see him with our eyes, he wants us to see him in the Bread.
The kids usually begin craning their necks at this part of mass to see Jesus. Later on you can get into more.
In the case of a child, the best thing is just to tell them. Read them the relevant Bible passages in John 6 or the Last Supper. Explain to them that this is what is happening in the Mass. When our children are small, the emphasis should be on teaching them the authority and promises of God’s Word as it is taught in the Scriptures and by his Church. As they get older, you will need to instruct them at a higher level, but when they are really small, keep it basic.
It’s like teaching them about sex or other complex subjects. Teach them what they need to know right now.
Well the child wants to know what part of Christ was in the host, i.e. the eye, skin, arm, etc. After she was told all of Christ was in the host she wanted to know how he could fit in there. This child has already received her 1st communion.
Now you are getting into specifics.
The first of these questions was answered somewhat awkwardly (that Christ was “in” the Host) which set the table for the child’s next logical question: How could he fit “in” the Host??"
A better answer is that Jesus is Really Present in the Host. That means that he isn’t inside of it, but it becomes him when the priest says the words of consecration. It still *looks *like bread and *tastes *like bread – but Jesus is really there.
The** “how”** part of the question is a whole different thing. Adults ask this too, and the answer is the same for them as for this little girl – we don’t know.
When it comes to the chief mysteries of the Christian Faith which involve the direct action of God – the Eucharist, the Incarnation, the Trinity, etc – “how” is not an answerable question. We --children as well as adults – need to learn to live with the idea that not everything is qualifiable or quantifiable by empirical evidence or simple logic. Some things are just transcendent mysteries, and that’s OK.
I’d further suggest your friend invest in a Baltimore Catechism and go through it with her daughter – a lesson a week if possible. My extremely bright twelve year old boy is being raised on it, and he can run theological circles around most Catholic adults.
Thank you so much for replying. I will forward this to my friend. They thing is she babysits for this child and the child was asking her mom about it. Her mom said it was a symbol and so she jumped in but doesn’t want to over step her boundries. I asked her if she pulled the mom aside and explain it to her and she said no. She knows her faith but is having a hard to explaining it in words. Anyway, thanks for your suggestions.
I am glad you asked and got the answers for others. I never thought kids would ask this question. They are so curious…good though.
Show them a Cruxifix and a Tabernacle.
Explain to them
“On the Cross, it looks like Jesus is there, put He really isn’t. In the Tabernacle, it looks like Jesus ISN’T there, but He really is”
For younger kids. You can explain to them that Christ wants to come to us and be with us, but He is so big, and so bright that it would hurt our eyes to see Him. So He makes Himself look like bread and wine and that lets Him come to us without hurting our eyes.
He chooses to look like bread because that remindes us that His Grace is food for us, not food for our tummies, but food for our hearts.
These are great books everyone should have. They are simple to understand and they have pictures!
Depending on how old the child is. If the child is too young she may be a little scared of the picture in the site mentioned below:-
A EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE
IN NAJU, KOREA
The Sacred Host turned to visible Flesh and Blood on Julia Kim’s tongue
(September 22, 1995, the Blessed Mother’s Mountain in Naju)
I don’t know if the following is really a topical response, but it’s what I have.
When my granddaughter was four years old, we were at Mass together. Right at the Consecration, she turned to me and asked “How does Jesus get into that little piece of bread”? I responded that since He’s God, he can do anything He wants to do, and that’s the way He chose to come to us. She then asked me “But does He bleed?” I told her that, no, the Host doesn’t bleed, but He does change the wine into His blood, so His blood is there too, just in a separate chalice. That satisfied her.