Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls

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

More Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls is not just more of the same ol’ stuff. Each story is unique and a favorite in itself. Because these stories are about believable characters, such as Nickie, who prayed for the grace to be brave when things didn’t go his way, Timmy, who wanted to share his joy with another, Rupert and Osbert, who recognized their sins and regretted their mistakes, children will recognize themselves.

Clever and amusing, these are not just moral stories to teach your children a lesson. While holding our attention to the last word, Houselander has the ability to take a truth and turn it upside down. When Anna goes to church to complain bitterly to the Blessed Mother about all her hardships, she wishes that she could be the Blessed Mother. To her great astonishment, that is exactly what happens. She becomes the Madonna in the picture and soon realizes that the life of the Blessed Mother, as well as those who come to pray to her, is not so glamorous.

In Lumen Gentium, we read “’Christians must be to the world what the soul is to the body’” (38). These stories, about Tommy who sacrifices his honor to bring joy and happiness to another, about Kathleen who offers up candy in the hopes of converting Mr. Oats, or Montague, who finds out that sometimes assumptions about others are just plain wrong, give meaning to the words to act as Christ and see Christ in others.

Although I can summarize the plots or describe the themes of these wonderful stories, their powerful impact is what makes them great. If we put into practice the message of these stories, we will truly “bring the light of Christ to all men” (Lumen Gentium, 1).

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