Sunday, November 04, 2007

Henri Nouwen is Up in Heaven Smiling

I can recall reading of the great priest and writer Henri Nouwen dressing up in faux vestments playing priest as a five year old. The photo at left is of Henri doing just that, courtesy of the website.

The image came to mind this morning at Saint Middle School. There we were, standing around the altar, the Vicar, me, a senior acolyte, and two junior acolytes. As the Vicar was reading the words of the Eucharistic liturgy, and doing certain actions with her hands (term of art is "manual acts") such as raising the bread, or raising the cup or the paten, or making the Sign of the Cross over the elements, one of the junior acolytes, a little boy of 8 or so, was doing all the manual acts right after her. Not making fun, mind you, but doing it with great seriousness, as if by doing this it would help him understand what was happening, and make him more like the Vicar, who is his great buddy.

I told PH this story over dinner tonight, and he smiled and said, "Big Old Seminary Class of 2025, eh?"

Perhaps. But even if that is not so, what a lovely thing to see a little child so entranced with the power and beauty of the liturgy that he wants to imitate it.

It worked for Henri. May it work for this little guy as well.

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

I love this! I remember having a communion at home for my sister and friend (I presided!) when I was about that age. It was entirely solemn and fully-meant. I will never forget it.