“They were all overcome with amazement, and they praised God as, awestruck, they said, ‘We have witnessed unbelievable things today.’” (Luke 5:26)
This passage in Luke’s Gospel recounts the Pharisees’ response to Jesus’ healing of a paralyzed man. Sometimes, we can be just as incredulous as those who were surprised by Jesus’ actions—it can take a miraculous, or near-miraculous, occurrence to put us into the proper state of mind: a state of wonder and awe. The truth is that we are surrounded by the wonderful and the awesome every day; our very lives are miraculous! But unless we see something that we don’t consider mundane—something that shakes us from our complacency—we don’t treat gifts from God with the appreciation we should.
Let’s take one more look at the passage from Luke’s Gospel: “They were all overcome with amazement, and they praised God as, awestruck, they said, ‘We have witnessed unbelievable things today.’” Shouldn’t this describe our outlook every day of our lives? For a certain group of humans, this does describe a common attitude. Young children are among the best in the world at appreciating everything for what it is: a miracle. This outlook in itself gives glory to God, and it provides children with an open door for increasing their faith.
As Catholic adults, we can harness the power of children’s innate sense of wonder and awe and help them channel this into developing deeper faith. Here are three ways in which we can help children to do this:
Science now confirms what we as people of faith have always known: that cultivating a sense of wonder and awe is good for us. The good news for adults is that if we share in the wonder and awe of a child, we are bound to enhance our own wonder, awe, and faith. A good in itself that leads to even greater good—now, that’s wonderful and awesome!
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