Lately I have been re-reading The Good Shepherd and the Child by Sofia Cavaletti. I have been using the first few pages of this work for my copywork! I love the copywork journals that my children have been amassing over the last year. I thought that they should not be the only ones who should be doing this type of valuable schoolwork. I remember reading once about Maria Montessori copying every word of a book to carefully measure the weight of its words so that she would not miss anything. So here I am on my joyful journey of homeschool motherhood doing MY copywork.
I love this book in its simplicity. It reminds me of how I began a deeper journey into the faith as an adult when I heard Scott Hahn on EWTN talking about God’s covenant relationship with His people over the centuries. And as I browsed through this Joyful Journey book and then went back over in greater detail over the pages of this book, I could see the unique covenant relationship that God has with young children, especially those children under the age of 6 years. God’s LIVING covenant with them helps them to receive and respond to God’s unconditional and personal love for each of them whom He calls by name.
The Good Shepherd parable satisfies a vital need in the child, one of nurturing and protection that allows the child to be fully and holistically who he was created to be. When this occurs, the child is full of a special quality of JOY that resonates in the depths of his heart.
“Many things make children happy, but there are different qualities of happiness. There is a kind of happiness that makes children nervous, tense, and tired. The happiness that they feel when they come close to God is a quality of joy that makes them peaceful, relaxed, as if something very deep has been struck in their heart and they go on listening to this sounding in the depths of their heart. It is like the response of someone who has found a life-giving place and having found it, does not want to leave.”
I have found The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to be just this kind of life giving catechesis. It inspires a relationship that is so very natural to the child and is the gratifying satisfaction of a vital need. This religious formation is not imposed on them. The experience is so deep and peaceful and to live it with the child, it becomes an education for us as adults and we learn that as educators, we need to be the servants of this covenant relationship. Children are radical in their simplicity in that they get to the root of things and this is seen also in their religious needs. They are satisfied with the essentials and are free of the extra things that clutter our lives.
The young children are our guides. They are so very creative in the first few years of their lives and they have a particular religious hunger that needs to be fed NOW…just like when they are physically hungry they need to be fed now without waiting till the morning.
While living this special covental relationship, the children are full of a quality of love and joy and are in a sense His heralds of God’s living presence among us.
“If Jesus said we are to be like little children to enter the kingdom of God, then they must have something to teach us.”
Someone once told me that God is with us in the most natural of ways…. Leave it up to a child to “get it” in ways that many adults do not.