There is no question about Jesus’ love for children, the most helpless members of society. When some parents wished to bring their children to Jesus for his blessing, his disciples tried to keep them away. Jesus would have none of it. “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way”. (Matthew 19: 14 – 15)
Jesus continues to welcome children today The clearest way he does this is through the sacraments. In Baptism, children are freed from original sin and become sons and daughters of God in a new way. At the age of discretion (= age of reason = 7+), they are being prepared to receive the Holy Spirit in Confirmation and to receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion.
Before receiving Confirmation and Communion, children will be prepared to receive Jesus’ healing forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.
There are many ways parents today would like to shield their children from the reality of evil in the world. But the day when placing our child into an enclosure to protect them from images and stories of evil are long over. Through the media, and especially the internet, the stories have invaded our homes. And as children enter the social world of school with classmates, they experience the hurts and petty jealousies that are the inevitable consequence of these relationships. In the process, the temptation to hold grudges, strike back, and making others pay for what they have done is equally present.
When our children know and become aware of the difference between good and evil, and the difference between wrongdoing and sin they have entered the Age of Reason, (or the age of discretion.) It is presumed that by the time a child is seven they have accomplished this task, although it is not universally the case. Some don’t get there until 8. When they reach this age they are no longer infants but truly are now children.
Sinful behaviour is not simply something our children observe in the world. In our families also there are many instances when sinful choices are in need of apologies and forgiveness. In the ongoing process of family life, the practice of celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a strong means of grace to help families to live and grow together.
In the Cathedral Parish, First Reconciliation preparation begins in Term 3 of each School Year. Contact the Office for More information