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A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith
Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: April 2, 2022
By Kelli Nugent
St. Edward Church, Texarkana
The questions that children ask can be quite intriguing and insightful. They have deep questions that need substantive answers to help them understand the truths of the faith, as well as their other inquisitive queries. As both a catechist and director of faith formation for St. Edward Church in Texarkana, I have been listening to questions from children in the process of being catechized in RCIA, that range in age from 7 to 9. Their questions can also provide spiritual insight for the average Catholic.
The first question out of the box from one young charge was, “Is Halloween the devil’s day?” “Well, no,” I said. “Let’s think first about some special days on the calendar. What is the night before Christmas called?” “Christmas Eve,” was the response. “Right. Now let’s look at the Our Father prayer.” As we began to recite it, I stopped and asked, “Do you know what that word ‘hallowed’ means?” “No.” “It’s an old word that means ‘holy.’ Halloween, broken into two parts, is ‘hallow’ and ‘een.’ Een is a contraction of the word ‘even’ as part of the word ‘evening’ rendered ‘e’en.’ So, ‘Hallowe’en’ is the evening before All Hallows Day, that which we also call All Saints Day.
Even though some have tried to pervert the eve of this holy day as something evil, that is not what it is. And yes, you can trick-or-treat on that day.” Another question was, “Why did Moses throw down the tablets when he came down the mountain?” I explained because he was angry that the chosen people, the Israelites, had broken the covenant they had so recently made with God. Moses had ascended Mount Sinai to meet God on behalf of the people. He remained on that mountain top for 40 days and 40 nights in what appeared to the people as a consuming fire at its peak.
The questions that children ask can be quite intriguing and insightful. They have deep questions that need substantive answers to help them understand the truths of the faith, as well as their other inquisitive queries. Their questions can also provide spiritual insight for the average Catholic.
The Israelites lost faith in God who had saved them and lost hope that Moses would return. The people begged Aaron for a “god” to lead them and they were worshiping this golden calf when Moses came down the mountain. He threw down the tablets in his anger at the people’s rejection of the true God. “If God is everywhere, why can’t I see him?” This is a perennial question for adults as well as children.
God is pure spirit and being all-powerful; he is capable of doing things we humans cannot do. God does not have a body and is not subject to time and space as we are. He is the creator of time and space and yet outside of both. This is a concept so very difficult for any human being to understand because we live within time and space. Because of his power and because he is not limited by a body, God can be both in heaven and on earth at the same time.
The second person of the Trinity, the Son, has always existed. At a particular point in time, the Son took on human flesh and became incarnate in the person of Jesus. His glorified mortal body remains united to himself and awaits our arrival in his heavenly home. Jesus is in heaven — body, blood, soul and divinity. On this earth, Jesus gives us the miracle of himself fully and totally in the most holy Eucharist.
“Why does the bread (the Eucharist) still look and taste like bread after it becomes Jesus?” One would need to refer to St. Thomas Aquinas’s teaching about the substance and accidents of the Eucharist. Jesus is truly, fully, wholly present in the consecrated Eucharist while the accidents or incidentals of the taste, texture, composition and appearance of bread remain to our senses after consecration. “What does it mean to have a birthmark?” I don’t believe there is any specific spiritual significance to a birthmark aside from God creating you as a unique individual. May God grant us the wisdom, insight and understanding to be able to answer well children’s desire for knowledge.
Kelli Nugent is director of faith formation at St. Edward Church in Texarkana. She has a bachelor’s degree in theology from St. Gregory University in Shawnee, Okla.