Monday, April 9, 2012

Metal Man

Over the weekend I had to have "the talk" with my kids. Not the birds and the bees.  More like the  one about a magic bunny, eggs, a hammer, nails, Roman Soldiers and a man named, Jesus.  THAT talk.  Quite the challenge to explain Easter from the Catholic perspective to 5 and 2 year olds.  They knew more than I thought and understood more than some adults I know.  Their unique perspectives gave me lots to think about!

This wasn't our first talk about God, Jesus and all things sacred.  I used to be a Campus Minister so it is a topic I like and believe in very much. We incorporate our beliefs into our everyday activities.  But, we had a refresher talk as we drove to our Church on the way to the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.  Our church has a beautiful outdoor Grotto modeled after Lourdes. It is a peaceful place to visit and perfect to walk the Stations in the wooded area near the Grotto.  Several hundred people showed up throughout the day to walk the course.

My conversation with the kids went something like this. First, I reminded them that it was Good Friday and asked if they knew what that meant.  They said yes, they knew it was the day Jesus died.  So we were off to a good start.  I went over how Jesus lived a long, long time ago and loved God so much.  He was God's son and came down from Heaven to teach people on Earth about how much God loves us.  He was a great teacher.

Cenzo wanted to know if people thought Jesus was weird?  In a nutshell yes.  Some people thought so.

"Is that why they arrested him? Because they thought he was weird and they didn't like it?" asked Luccio

I tried to explain that sometimes it is hard to hear messages like the ones Jesus taught about.  Some people did not want to hear that their choices were not good.  And they wanted Jesus to stop trying to get them to change their lives and live better.

We went on to talk about how after he was arrested Jesus had to carry his cross a long, long way to the spot where he was going to die.

Ugh, I DO NOT like having to get around to that part.  But, the boys knew it was coming.
They had some great questions like was the Cross heavy? Did he have to walk up the hills? Did he get to eat or drink? Was he tired? What about his friend Simon the helped him?

I was surprised they remembered Simon, I guess they pay more attention to what I say than I thought, LOL!

As we drove Luccio noticed mountains in the distance and wanted to know if that was like the mountains Jesus had to walk up with his Cross.

I have to be honest I wasn't sure if Jesus walked up mountains with the cross. I remember seeing the Mel Gibson movie and I am pretty sure it was a hilly walk. So I embellished a bit and went with it.  "Yes, those are like the mountains, good connection."

When we started talking about how the soldiers used a hammer to nail Jesus to the Cross the questions got even more interesting.

Cenzo wanted to know where the nails got put and how long it took to nail them in.
Then he asked, "so when the nails went into his hands that is when he turned to metal?"

Uh, um.  I don't remember that part of that story Sweetie.  Huh??

Luccio clarified.  "Mama he means is that when they hung him on our Church?"


I clarified that he died on the cross first and then rose from the dead and THEN people remember him by making metal crosses.  But, Jesus did NOT become metal.

"So he came back to life?" asked Cenzo.  "So he is like a Super Hero?"

I tried to explain that Jesus was 100% from God so he has Divine Power.  So he is even stronger than a Super Hero.

That opened a barrage of new thoughts. "How did he get out of the cemetery?"  "Was he like a ghost or did he still have skin?"  "Why didn't they just put Jesus in jail?"

Good question.  Then I had to explain a bit about old fashion justice systems and how it wasn't just Jesus that was hanged on crosses. I put in a small bit about the other criminals that died with him that day and reminded them we would hear the words one said in a song "Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom."

Luccio wanted to know what happened to the other criminal. Another good question little Bear, not sure though.

Finally I wrapped it up by saying that God's love is stronger than death. And that we would remember Jesus and his walk with the Cross as walked through the Stations.

Cenzo commented, "it's a weird story Mama. Is it true?"

Well, in our family we believe that it is true and in our Church family of Catholics we believe it is true.  But, not all people believe it.  That is what Faith is.  Believing even when everyone else doesn't.

Isabella said, "I love Jesus."

Then Cenzo suggested maybe when he is older he will make robots that can teach about God like Jesus did.  They can say "I am a robot. I believe in God. I love God."

I wasn't sure what to make of that.  If I analyzed it from my adult perspective I would say Cenzo took away the thought that people who believe are like robots.  But, he explained it in a way that made me think he meant that this would really help get the message out to as many people as possible that God is loving. He liked the idea of his robots helping Jesus.

Luccio had one last question, he asked me "is that why the Easter Bunny brings the eggs? Because Jesus was dying?"

Oh goodness, I have no idea how that ridiculous Bunny got involved with the Holiest of days.  But, I tried to tie it in by saying that Jesus came back to life and eggs are a symbol of new life so we use them to remember the Resurrection.  And the Bunny likes eggs so he helps Jesus deliver them.

My brain was EXHAUSTED! I had to stop for a Dunkin Donuts coffee and regroup my mind before we ventured on our walk through the Stations.

The weather was perfect and we met up with my mom, aunts and cousins.  It was a wonderful way to spend Good Friday morning.  And it gave me lots to think about for my own faith reflection and for future conversations with the little ones.

At the Station where Jesus is hanging on the Cross there is a steep set of stairs to walk up to stand at the foot of a very large Cross. At that point Luccio stood waiting to see "how are we going to get into the sky to watch Jesus rise from being dead?"

He truly thought we were going to somehow be beamed up to the sky.

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