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Friday, July 20, 2007

What to Say to Your Children

Twenty questions parents said were unanswerable.

1.Does God exist?
2.Has God got a beard?
3.Is there life after death?
4.If God made us who made God?
5.What does God look like?
6.Why is the world here?
7.Who created God?
8.Why are people bad to each other?
9.Why are we here? Am I real or is this just a dream?
10.If God is everywhere why do we have to go to church to see him?
11.Why can't we ring God up?
12.Why does Easter change its dates each year?
13.Why is God all around us?
14.Why is there a world?
15.Why is there so much war in the world?
16.Why do we have wars?
17.Why do I believe in one God while my Hindu friend believes in lots and is my God the same as my Jewish friends?
18.Do you know why Jesus wept?
19.Who made the universe?
20.Does God have a mum?

Here's how a Catholic would answer them.

1.Yes.

2.Yes, God the Son has a beard. God the Father has no body.

3.Yes. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and promised that we would be with him in his Father's house to live eternally.

4.No one made God. He is self-existent from all eternity.

5.God looks like Jesus Christ. If you have seen him, you have seen the Father, says Jesus.

6.The world is here because it was God's good pleasure to make it. Most of all it was his good pleasure to make *you*, whom he has had in his heart since before the beginning of the world. You were invited into existence so that you and he and all his saints could be happy forever with him in heaven.

7.No one created God. God is the Creator. Everything you see around you is made of "creature stuff", so it's natural to think that everything that is (including God) is also made of "creature stuff". But God is not "made" of anything. God is "eternal stuff". Creatures "have" being that they borrow temporarily from God. God *is* Being.

8.People are bad to each other because they love themselves more than they love God or other people. When you do that, and other people or God get in the way of something you want, you hurt the other people and God to get it. It's called "sin".

9.You are here (and you are very real) because God loves you so much he made you especially for himself (and for us who also love you no matter what, forever and ever). You are here to get to know God, to learn to love him and live out his life in this world so that you can get ready for the perfect happiness of heaven. Jesus is your teacher and helper through his Church, the sacraments, and through the people you love and are loved by.

10.Mom and I always love you no matter where you are, but it's better when we can give you a hug and a kiss and enjoy talking with you. Church is where God talks to us through the Bible. Sacraments are the kisses of God. And the liturgy is the way we learn how to exercise our bodies and souls so that we can go out stronger to meet God in the world and serve him in people.

11.You can. It's called "prayer".

12.Jesus was crucified on the eve of the Passover, a Jewish feast that falls on the first full moon after the beginning of Spring. Easter just follows that same calendar.

13.Because God is infinite. You can't put him in a box.

14.There is a world because God loves beauty and he loves to create, like an artist. He is so full of creativity that no one creature can express everything about him. So he created zillions of things.

15.Because people are hungry for the happiness of God, but they don't want to put themselves after God. So they try to steal that happiness by beating up their neighbors. If that sounds crazy, it's because it is. Sin is basically crazy.

16.See above.

17.You believe in one God because you are blessed to live in a place where the Good News was accepted and took root. The Good News was that God everybody has been looking for had become the man Jesus Christ, died for our sins, and rose from the dead so that we could defeat sin and death. Everybody in the world is seeking him (which is why you are asking these questions). But because we are also limited and (especially because our thinking gets gummed up by sin) people have lost track of him and sometimes tried to make up stories about "gods" who are more like Big People with Magic Powers. Storytelling is a great thing, and even some of the stories reflect some real truths about the real God. But if people start believing the stories to be true, it can cause a lot of problems. That's why God said not to believe in any God but him.

He said that to the Jewish people, who were the first people that he revealed himself to. They are still his special people today. Most Jews don't believe that Jesus (who is himself a Jew) is also God. But though they don't believe in him (often because Christians have been very mean to them), God is still faithful to the covenant (that means "agreement") he made with them and he promises that one day they will realize that Jesus is who he says he is. Till then, we are to love our Jewish friends because they are sort of like our Older Brothers and Sisters since they were the first to hear the word of God.

18.He wept because he was angry at death. He was so angry that he fought it and beat it so that we could live forever.

19.God.

20.Yes. Her name is Mary.

via Mark Shea



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