Sunday, March 28, 2010

Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls

Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls by Caryll Houselander, 160 pp. Sophia Institute Press

As parents, one of our most challenging tasks is to make the faith come alive for our children. We want our children to understand the great mystery and appreciate the great beauty of their Catholic faith. In Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls not only does the Catholic faith come alive, but Catholic truths that may be difficult to understand take on new and richer meanings. Why would Christ become man instead of coming to us in all his glory? Why did Christ offer his life for us? Why should I be nice to someone who is wicked and mean?

Like a large box of delectable fine chocolates, each story in Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls contains its own sweet surprise, not an ooey-gooey sugary explanation of a Catholic truth, but a pleasant surprise that makes sense and causes us to pause and wonder at God’s goodness and mercy. In “Terrible Farmer Timson,” we meet Audrey and Jill, two girls who pray for a mean farmer to become “sensible and gentle,” and in doing so, soften his hardened heart. In “Joseph’s Godfather,” Joseph brings his Godfather, a bristling old gentleman known as the General, back to the sacraments through his simple prayers and sacrifices. In “Jack and Jim,” after a case of mistaken identity, twins, Jack and Jim, find out the real meaning of sacrificing yourself for the one you love.

These are just three of the many stories that remind us to see Christ in others as well as to act as Christ to those around us. Sure, we can lecture our children ad nauseum about being good, but it does not have the same effect as reading a story that touches their hearts or pricks their consciences, hopefully reminding them to imitate Christ, such as the one about Vaslav, a boy who risks his life to bring the Eucharist to a group of nuns in a Siberian prisoner camp. Of course, the best way to read them is together aloud, that way you can discuss them later throughout the day. Inspire your daily words and deeds to be more Christ-like and in turn light the faith of your children by reading Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls.

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