We often hear it said in the spiritual life that to become childlike is to draw near to the kingdom of God.
Last night, I had the privilege of attending a Children of Hope
evening of Eucharistic Adoration and I feel like I understand why one must be like a child to sit at the Heavenly Banquet.
I must admit, I tagged along half-heartedly in order to fulfill an obligation to a friend on her birthday as she didn’t want to go alone. I often underestimate the transformative power of quality time spent with children and last night was nothing short of a transformative moment.
It only took a single majestic note resonating from the child-cellist and I was sold. The whole experience was moving precisely because it was so simple.
“Now children, right now the church is filling with Angels. They know Jesus is coming among us,” the priest said just before processing down the aisle to the sound of a children’s choir singing the hymn “You are my All in All”.
Fr. Antoine Thomas is a priest with the Community of St. John
and has led children in Adoration in countries all around the world including Australia, Mexico, Canada, Nicaragua and Romania.
The format of the evening is simple: it begins and ends with song. There are bouts of silence and then there is the sung Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Throughout the time of Adoration, Fr. Antoine encourages the children to tell Jesus about their happiness or about their sadness. Then, when he reposes the Blessed Sacrament he says “There. Now Jesus goes back to His golden prison. He is waiting for you to visit Him!”
The experience was rich with imagery and track-backs to scripture. Fr. Antoine told the children to draw near to Jesus in the monstrance, because, he said "He is your best friend". He also reminded the children that both Jesus and Our Lady love children very much. He reenacted the story of Jesus telling the stern disciples to "let the little children come to [Him]" and also told the story about the children in Portugal to whom the Blessed Mother appeared.
The vision of the children around the monstrance with the mystical sound of the cello cutting through the incense was a powerful one; in this moment, simplicity and majesty weaved seamlessly and the result was other-worldly.