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Mercy That Loves
Posted by Kitti McSorley on 3/29/2018
In my role at school as a catechist, one of my greatest honors is faith-building through the richness and beauty of the parables - and one of my favorite parables to share is ‘The Good Samaritan.’
The following is a simple Lenten reflection on the beauty of the Body of Christ as it is shared with, and from, the youngest of our children at St. Luke.
I asked the children to place their hands on their heart every time they could feel their heart beat as they heard an act of God’s love in 'The Good Samaritan'. I found seven, and so did the children!
They heard each one:
- They heard that it was the Samaritan who stopped to help
- Who cleaned the injured man’s wounds and put ‘band aids’ on them
- Put the injured man on his donkey as he walked alongside
- Took him to the inn
- Stayed up all night with the wounded man
- Paid the inn keeper for the night’s stay
- Gave the innkeeper more money for the man to stay longer to heal
I watched with great joy as the children’s arms and hands reach so beautifully for their hearts. This action told me that they had become a part of this parable - the happy parts and the sad parts, as well! Then two remarkable questions were asked of me by the children.
The first question: "Why didn’t the holy man help?" (I thought to myself, what a beautiful teachable moment of God’s mercy that loves!)
They said, “The parable does not tell us why the holy man did not stop to help. It is very sad that he did not stop to help the injured man! I would like to think that when the holy man went to bed that night, he felt badly for not helping. But I also like to imagine that he probably asked God to forgive him.”
So I asked, “How do you think God was feeling about the holy man not helping?”
Their response was “God still loved him.”
The children understood an act of God’s perfect love through God’s forgiveness and mercy. They made a connection of knowing holy men as a good man for God - to something that didn’t make sense to them - to an understanding of God’s abundant love, forgiveness and mercy. WOW!
The second question: "Wasn’t he (the Samaritan) tired staying up all night?"
I love this question as it's a perfect segue into God’s love flowing through their parents.
The children would come to understand what sacrifice means. They connected their lives to the Samaritan who stayed up all night taking care of the injured man to their parents who stayed up all night with them caring for them when they were sick, maybe throwing up in the middle of the night - washing sheets, comforting them. The children understood that this was a sacrifice. They connected the deep love of their parents to God’s love for them. Through each of their questions, the children’s understanding of God’s perfect love is anchored in a concrete experience of their own lives.
The beloved Samaritan got involved and showed us how to be ‘little Christs’, demonstrating a mercy that loves. As we move forward seeking new ways to bring our children closer to God, we join with our parents who are their first teachers to share a lifetime of parables.
Kitti McSorley has served at St. Luke for more than 24 years in a variety of roles. She was a second grade teacher for almost 20 years and now serves as the Director of Faith Formation while also leading Enrichment Programs for students in grades one through three. Mrs. McSorley loves that St. Luke’s Partner Program brings younger and older students together for Mass, prayer services, and other activities giving them the opportunity to identify with, and care for, others besides their peers. She also enjoys the freedom of guiding children to use prayer as a means of resolving conflicts.