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"Explaining Lent to Preschoolers: Superhero and Sports Analogies" by Meg Herriot (CatholicMom.com) Pixabay (2013), CC0 Public Domain[/caption] Like a Kid in a Candy Store As we are embarking on Lent and my son is getting older, he has been asking more questions. I recently had to take a trip to our local Catholic bookstore to pick up the schedule of readings for the Liturgy of the Hours so I can try to keep up with my Dominican responsibilities. It's kind of funny as I walked into the bookstore, I was kind of like a kid in a candy store- there were so many books I was interested in and wanted to read and a complete section on Tolkien. I had to text my husband about this as he is a skeptic as how the Lord of The Rings Trilogy could possibly relate to Catholic theology. Anyway, as I sought out the one thing I needed to buy, I picked up a couple others that seemed appropriate. I got a book of Lenten readings for us to read as family at the dinner table and found child-appropriate books about Lent and the Stations of the Cross. My son was excited to receive the books and wanted to read them at bedtime. The Devil, Superbowl and origins of Lent As we opened one of his books, I was interested that I actually learned more about Lent from his children's book. I had not known that early Christians started preparing for Lent with as little as a couple of days and then gradually went to the biblically relevant 40 days. There was some other information in his book that brought new light to the preparations for Lent to me. As I was reading, my son noticed the illustration of Jesus in the desert with the devil tempting him. He asked me who was behind Jesus. It was Satan. I told my son that it was the devil, a bad guy, and that he fought with Jesus and Jesus won. Kind of like the ultimate sporting contest, like the Super Bowl for the World. Jesus won to save all of us. It may not have been the most theologically sound explanation, but my son got the understanding that Jesus fought the battle/competition of ALL TIME for us and He won and He will always win when it comes to the devil. He's an awesome "athlete" and "good guy" who fights tough and kicks the competition. There's a lot of beautiful theology that is so rich that we can discover and learn, but perhaps, occasionally as we get bogged down in life and the struggles, the questions of injustice and fighting for truth, sometimes especially for a child, the simplistic answer, "Jesus won and He will ALWAYS win" is all we really need to remember before the anxieties of the world try to confuse us away.
Copyright 2018 Meg Herriot