How do you explain to children what the voice of God sounds like? There is only one God, but everyone’s experience with Him is unique. He speaks to each of us in a way that inspires us to contribute to the good of the world in an unrepeatable way. He caters to individual temperaments and personalities. He speaks as many different languages of the heart as there are people in the world. It’s impossible to know what God will sound like as He speaks to each of our children.
“For God, each person is absolutely unique. Holiness is not the realization of a given model of perfection that is identical for everyone. It is the emergence of an absolutely unique reality that God alone knows, and that he alone brings to fruition.” Jacque Phillipe, In the School of the Holy Spirit
We can’t tell our children exactly what God’s voice will sound like to them, but we long for them to discover why God put them on this earth. We want them to know their purpose and to feel their inherent value in the driving force behind it.
“Among these ways [of discovering what God is asking of us], there is one that is so fundamental and important that it merits an explanation: the inspiration of divine grace. In other words, the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit in the depths of our hearts by which God makes known what he is asking of us, and at the same time gives us the strength we need to accomplish it, at least if we consent.” Jacque Phillippe, In the School of the Holy Spirit
How do we help our children prepare the depths of their hearts to receive these “inner promptings of the Holy Spirit”? How can we ensure that this divine inspiration will be coaxed to fruition? Who is capable of making the Spirit’s voice heard, clearly and sweetly, over the clamor of a world that is often too impatient to listen? St. Louis de Montfort gives us the answer:
“When the Holy Ghost, her Spouse, has found Mary in a soul, he flies there.”
Opening our children’s hearts to Mary will open their hearts to the Holy Spirit and give them the grace they need to hear the voice of God. It’s as simple as a child’s kiss on the stony cheek of a garden statue. It’s as instinctual as placing a flower next to Mary on a prayer table. And it’s as innocent as dancing down a garden path while the marigolds and roses of Our Lady look on. While the Holy Spirit is a rather abstract concept for children, love of our Mother Mary is as natural as love for their own, earthly mother.
Teach your children to love Mary, and the Holy Spirit will have to fly to them. Their minds may not understand the grace working within them, but the ears of their hearts will be open and listening–and they will joyfully dance down the path that God has laid for them.
Ideas and Resources to Foster Devotion to Mary:
–plant a Mary Garden in a corner of your yard or in a container in your home. A wealth of information about Mary Gardens and their plants can be found here: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/resources/m_garden/marygardensmain.html
–create a special place in your home for Rosaries and a statue of Mary
–keep fresh flowers next to your family’s Mary statue
–help your children place a wreath on your outdoor Mary garden statue
–tell your children the story of the Miraculous Medal, encourage them to wear one, or wear one yourself
–read 33 Days To Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, and consider consecrating yourself to Mary
–celebrate Marian feast days with special food and fun family activities
–set aside a specific time each day or week to pray a family Rosary, or just one decade of a Rosary with small children
–pray the Angelus with your children every day at noon