A wonderful electronic friend of mine (one of my sisters says that’s a weird way to introduce people on my blog–but it’s TRUE!), Kendra from Catholic All Year, wrote a book. And not just any old Catholic book (as if there is a serious category for “any such x-religion book). It’s a little guide to confession for kids and parents before the Big Day.
If you’re still following with this conversation and you’re not Catholic, I’ll give you the quick version: Catholics (and other Christians) believe that people were born with something called “original sin” on their souls, their spiritual life within. After baptism, that’s wiped off by the Godparents & parents making promises and declarations on the baby’s behalf. But subsequently, because we are human, we build up spiritual dirt on that soul by choosing to do things, say things, etc that separate us from an all-loving God. Specifically, we break some or all of the Big Ten (commandments).
By going to a priest to say confession and ask for forgiveness of those sins, we get grace infused in our hearts by God (grace is His life within us), and our soul is wiped off again. Now you’re thinking, why do you have to say your offenses out loud? Can’t you just apologize in your head to a loving God? Won’t he or she forgive you? Sure. But consider the psychological piece of this. If you don’t have to verbally articulate what you did, when you did it, and be specific, are you really facing your own actions? The only way out of the humiliation of them is through. Face what you did; move on. This is true in many aspects of our complicated human lives.
The priest acts in the place of Christ (God’s son, the redeemer) and forgives your sins, your choices that separated you from God. He will give you an assignment, a penance, to do or say. Usually it’s a prayer, sometimes it’s an act (like, apologize or fess up). We start going to confession as Catholics from the time we’re about 7–right before our first Holy Communion (receiving the bread that we believe is God’s body) just to clean up that soul before that big event.
Guess what? I’m not a theologian. So if any of that is wrong, I’m sorry. Yikes! Pressure’s on. That’s why Kendra wrote a book and not me.
All this to say, whew, long winded: Kendra’s book, A Little Book About Confession for Children, published by Ignatius Press, is wonderful. She’s a mom of many and clearly you can tell she knows how to respectfully explain complex subjects to children. It’s not dumbed down; it’s not overly simplified. She takes the child step-by-step through the actual process of what happens in confession.
Beyond the rubrics, she actually answers about every question a child could have about it. Citing to both Scripture and the Catechism, her versions of the stories are understandable and accessible to a child without sounding like she’s trying. She speaks kid. And her examination of conscience at the end is BANG. Right on. She provides a meditation on each of the 10 commandments, complete with questions the child should ask themselves relating to that commandment.
Our son is only four. But when it’s the exciting time for him to go to confession for the first time, Kendra’s book is what we’ll use to prepare him. I learned more about confession reading it. I remember practicing for my first confession. I think we spent most of the time giggling over the made-up sins we were using for practice. My fav? I hit an old lady with an umbrella and stole her purse. Really? Really, seven year old Nell was horrid. This guide will probably inspire our kids a titch more.
AND because Ignatius Press is so generous, as is Kendra, I have a copy for you. Would you like it? Enter the Rafflecopter. Giveaway central over here. US & Canada readers only. Sorry #internationalfriendsacrosstheocean
Disclosure: Ignatius Press sent me a review copy of A Little Book about Confession for Children and a copy to give away. My views are mine and mine alone.