Thursday, September 13, 2012

God, Angels, and the Devil. Oh, my!

One of the reasons Daddy and I chose a Catholic school is because we wanted Gracie and Lukie to learn about God.  To be honest, on our own, we haven't done the best of jobs.  Catholic school, however, makes it a daily thing.  Every day, Gracie and Lukie learn new songs about God and the blessings we receive, they learn about the world and how God created everything.  With these lessons, of course, come questions.  More questions than I was prepared for.

To date, I have fielded questions on whether God is a man or a woman, where God is, what God looks like, whether God made the sun, Earth, and moon, and when God was born.  It has been interesting for me.  How do you take complex ideas and break them down for a 5 year old to understand?  The good news, for me at least, was that I stuck to the truth (or Catholic teachings, which ever you prefer) as much as I could.  Some people think God is a man.  Some people think God is a woman.  Others think God is just God.  He's not a man or a woman (This was Auntley!  Those B.V.M.s are so progressive!)  God is so big he is everywhere, all over the Earth.  No one knows what God looks like.  Each of us can picture God the way we would be comforted to view him.  I got creative with Creationism.  I'm a proponent of Evolution.  I think it is silly to think that the world was created in 7 days.  Rather, I believe that God started it all: the Big Bang, the development of life, etc.  However, God's version of 7 days is not like our experience of 7 days.  Seven days to God is more like billions of years to us. The explanation of when God was born was a tad trickier. Instead of trying to explain that God has no beginning and no end, I explained that I wasn't alive when God was created.  That God has lived for so long, no one knows.

It wasn't until they learned the song I've Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy Down in My Heart that things got more challenging for me.

"If the devil doesn't like it, he can sit on a tack.  Sit on a tack, sit on a tack. If the devil doesn't like it, he can sit on a tack.  Sit on a tack, sit on a tack...." (imagine this over and over)
"Mommy?" came Lukie's voice.  "Who is the devil?"
"Oh, um, the devil used to be one of God's angels."
"Why isn't he an angel any more?"
"Well, he decided that he was just as important and powerful as God. He told God that and God said, 'Nope.  I'm the Father and I am the most powerful.  I created you.'"
"Was God mad?"
"I think He was frustrated that one of His angels was trying to talk back to Him. When the devil would not change his mind, God told the devil that he had to leave Heaven and the devil was even madder.  He was so mad, that he tried to talk other people into thinking that they were better than God.  He told them that they could steal things and hurt other people. This made God sad."
"Mommy, is the devil still alive?"
"He was an angel, honey, they don't die.  He just lives in a place called hell with all of the other people and angels he convinced that they were better than God."
"Mommy?" came Gracie's voice.  "Will the devil hurt me?"
"No, baby. He won't hurt you.  The devil likes to try to talk people into doing mean things."
"Like hitting friends and being a litter bug?"
"Yes, kind of like that."
"What about stealing and killing people?"
"Most definitely.  The devil tempts people.  That means he tries to tell them that they should do mean things so that they feel better.  Even though they know that God wants us to be kind to each other, the devil convinces people to be mean."
"Mommy, will the devil try to make me mean?"
"He tries every day, sweetheart. Whenever you want to hit your friend or use mean words about them, that's the devil trying to convince you to hurt people.  But, when you choose not to, that is you deciding to fight against him.  Sometimes, your guardian angel will help you."
"What's a guardian angel?"
"Oh, it's the angel that God sent to protect you.  They watch over you and try to help you make nice and kind choices."
"Who's my angel, Mommy?" asked Lukie.
My mind worked frantically. 
"I think it's my Daddy, your Grandpa.  He's your guardian angel."
"Where is he, Mommy?"
"I'm not sure.  Maybe he is sitting on your right shoulder."
"Right here?"
"Yep, right there."
"If I pat my shoulder, will I hurt him?"
"Nope.  I don't think you can hurt an angel."
"Who's my angel, Mommy?" came Gracie's sweet little voice.
"Hmmm.  I think it is my Aunt Loretta.  She's your guardian angel."
"Is she my angel because she died?"
"I think so."
"Are the dinosaurs sitting on my other shoulder?"
"The dinosaurs," she repeated.  "Are the dinosaur angels sitting on my other shoulder?"
"Yes!" exclaimed Lukie.  "That's where they are!"


A few days later, Gracie climbed into my lap.  "Mommy, I don't want a dead person to be my guardian angel."
"You don't?"
"No.  If you are dead, then you turn into a zombie."
I tried to take that in.
"A Zombie?"
"Yes.  I want the dinosaurs to be my guardian angels."
"OOOO-kay, then.  Why don't you let God know that?"

Daily, there is a new question about God.  I'm doing my best with them and I hope I'm not messing this thing up.

Oh, one other side effect of all this God talk and trips to Mass?  Gracie serenades us with songs from Mass every day.  Last week, it was her version of Alleluia.  Last night, for 3 straight hours, it was the Lord Have Mercy version they sing at our church.  I'm pretty sure she is not singing the right words for part of it.  I can't make any of it out.  No worries, though.  She doesn't mind.

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